Five additional inmates at the prison were confirmed positive for Covid-19 this evening just after five o’clock. The Belize Central Prison is now on a 21-day lockdown after multiple cases of Covid-19 were confirmed. The CEO’s rationale for the lockdown has to do with the number of cases and the tight spaces within the prison walls. Chief Executive Officer at the prison, Virgilio Murrillo explained to Love News what the lockdown entails.
Virgilio Murillo, CEO, Kolbe Foundation: “I think it’s the smartest thing to do right now. We’ve had eight cases amongst inmates and six amongst officers so you don’t want that to get out of hand. In this setting because you cannot practice social distance everybody is, the place is densely populated everybody is so close to each other I think you run the risk of maybe infecting others so like I said in my press release really and truly it is to promote the healing of those we know currently tested positive, it is to prevent further importation of the virus into the prison and of course to mitigate the spread by those who may be asymptomatic and we are not displaying any symptoms. So we’ve got to be smart in these times. We can’t take chances. In addition to the suspension of visits by loved ones to the prisoners they just won’t be allowed to come and do cash deposits because we were still accommodating cash deposits right as of now. The cash deposits can continue right up until Monday but after Monday everything will cease.”
The prison issued a release this evening explaining that attorneys are encouraged to cancel visits to the prison. If extremely necessary then the prison has a system that could accommodate contacts with the inmates.
Virgilio Murillo, CEO, Kolbe Foundation: “I’m very grateful for the judiciary because they have I think this week if I’m not mistaken or last week they have begun doing a lot of stuff through the video to court link and that helps us a lot because there’s no need for the attorneys to come here but I know there are some attorneys who are pushing for their clients case to take off and in some cases some of them are from out district and they may not have access to the video to court link so these ones might be pushing for their clients to go out district for their hearing. I want to encourage them that during the twenty one days lockdown if they can be cooperative and understanding with us and avoid the prison for the twenty one days that would assist us in preventing and mitigating this virus from festering in the prison so I want to encourage them. However if it is exceedingly necessary for them to get something going with their clients and the judiciary is ready to accommodate I will be obligated to accommodate myself and we will so do but I just want to encourage them to try and see if they could wait out for the twenty one days lockdown; however if they cannot I do understand and we will work side by side with the judiciary to facilitate the process in a very smart way of course.”
Contact tracing continue at the prison.