Two inmates have died of Covid-19 in an East London prison, the correctional services department said on Tuesday.
Both had “underlying comorbid conditions,” said spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo.
A third inmate death – this one at a Western Cape facility – was “under investigation”.
There have been an additional six cases of inmates at the East London prison testing positive, for a national total of 165 within the correctional services sector.
According to figures provided by Nxumalo on Tuesday:
- the Eastern Cape had 35 confirmed cases involving officials and 65 involving inmates, with 58 recoveries;
- the Western Cape had 49 confirmed cases of officials and three of inmates, with one “death under investigation”;
- in Limpopo there were two cases of officials with the respiratory illness, one of which had recovered;
- in Gauteng, three officials and eight inmates were confirmed as having contracted the disease; and
- at the head office in Pretoria, one official contracted Covid-19 and has recovered.
Speaking about the 60 recoveries in total, Nxumalo said this was a “clear indication of the effectiveness of the containment and treatment pillar” of its Covid-19 disaster management response strategy.
“Under the strategy, there is rapid identification of laboratory-confirmed cases, and inmates who test positive are isolated and have access to quality healthcare that enable their recovery,” he said.
Of the six new cases in East London, he said healthcare practitioners were already on site “providing an array of health services”.