700 prisoners in isolation after coronavirus outbreak in Zaanstad penitentiary
Around 700 prisoners have had to isolate after 37 people tested positive for the coronavirus in the Zaanstad Judicial Complex.
According to a Ministry of Justice spokesperson, the residents of six wards are not allowed to receive visitors for the time being. "They can move freely within the department and thus socialize, ventilate and cook.
It is not known how the virus entered the prison. The prison will continue to receive new inmates. The Zaanstand Judicial Complex offers space for more than one thousand detainees. Among them, also psychiatric patients who receive professional help.
From the department in the east cluster, detainees have to stay in their cells for the entire weekend. They are allowed to go into the yard as usual. "Quarantining detainees is a drastic measure but also necessary to prevent further spread of the virus," a ministry spokesperson said. "The majority of detainees understand the situation. In general, the atmosphere is calm. They see the importance of it for their safety and health," the spokesperson said.
Roughly one-third of inmates are vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the director of the prison, Obe Veldman.
It was not the first time there had been a coronavirus outbreak in prison. Last year, the prison also had to go into lockdown.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.