Coronavirus spreads in Chinese prisons, 555 infected


Posted at Feb 26 2020 12:32 PM

SHANGHAI - A top leader of China's justice ministry blamed law enforcement on Monday for the hundreds of coronavirus cases discovered in prisons, calling them instances of poor disease control efforts.

Authorities have revealed 555 infections in Chinese prisons, but no deaths among them, in an epidemic that has killed more than 2,700 and infected more than 78,000 on the mainland.

"The transmission of the disease truly reflects some gaps in our management of prisons and in our prevention and epidemic control work," said Xiong Xuanguo, deputy minister of the justice ministry.

The women's jail in the central city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, is 100 m (328 ft) from a hospital and both facilities are serviced by the same bus stop, Xiong told a news conference held by the information office of China's State Council or cabinet.

For cases found at jails in the eastern provinces of Shandong and Zhejiang, he added, local security forces did not report they had been in contact with individuals from Hubei province, the capital of which is Wuhan.

"Our police officers at every level did not make truthful reports," he said. (Reporting by Huizhong Wu and Josh Horwitz; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)