Hundreds of cases of COVID-19 in Moldova’s jails

A number of 280 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the penitentiaries of the Republic of Moldova since the start of the pandemic. These were primarily mild forms, but there were also severe cases that required hospitalization. Representatives of the National Administration of Penitentiaries said the pandemic is managed effectively behind bars, while the jurists of Promo-Lex said the real number of COVID-19 cases can be higher than the reported one, IPN reports.

Irina Barbăroș, head of the Medical Division of the National Administration of Penitentiaries, said the pandemic is managed effectively in the penitentiary system as the number of infected persons is relatively low.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we recorded 280 cases of COVID-19 among detainees out of a total of 6,500 prisoners, which is a stable figure. But the annual figure is of 10,000 – 11,000 prisoners. There were reported no cases of death. We had three severe cases. The prisoners could get vaccinated with AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Johnson&Johnson. We also administered Sputnik, but in a lower number as the quantity of these vaccine doses available in the Republic of Moldova was smaller,” Irina Barbăroș stated in the talk show “Emphasis on Today” on TVR Moldova channel.

For his part, Promo-Lex jurist Vadim Vieru said the low number of reported cases is due to the low number of tests performed in penitentiaries. Promo-Lex Association also ascertained a precarious situation as regards the outfitting of jails with medical equipment and medicines.

“These flaws cannot be blamed on the penitentiary system that is underfinanced. They are due to the shortage of funds. Testing is among the main flaws. As the places are closed, testing in jails should embrace much more persons. Therefore, we have a low number of reported cases of infection. We consider the real figure is higher. This pandemic revealed systemic problems in penitentiaries, such as lack of human resources, lack of a medical system, equipment and medicines. There are many citizens there who also have the right to medical assistance,” stated Vadim Vieru, Promo-Lex program director.

The incarceration rate in Moldova is of 220 prisoners per 100,000 people. According to a study carried out by Promo-Lex, the Republic of Moldova the last 15 years lost over 40 cases at the ECHR owing to the inhuman and degrading detention conditions, at Penitentiary No. 13 alone.

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