Algeria mobilizes prisoners to make coronavirus protection gear

Algeria mobilizes prisoners to make coronavirus protection gear
As governments in the Middle East isolate their populations to prevent the spread of coronavirus, attention is turning the region’s jails where detainees face a more punishing form of lockdown. (File/AFP)
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Updated 17 April 2020

Algeria mobilizes prisoners to make coronavirus protection gear

Algeria mobilizes prisoners to make coronavirus protection gear
  • Prisoners will also make clothing and protective suits for medical personnel, he added, with disinfection chambers also being manufactured at three facilities
  • Authorities say no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 illness have been detected among 58,000 inmates at the country’s 150 prison facilities

ALGIERS: Inmates at 30 Algerian prisons are being mobilized to make personal protective equipment to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, official news agency APS reported.
Authorities will “open sewing workshops for the production of 200,000 masks by prisoners in 30 penitentiaries... to meet their own needs and those of the courts,” prisons chief Faycal Bourbala told APS on Thursday.
Prisoners will also make clothing and protective suits for medical personnel, he added, with disinfection chambers also being manufactured at three facilities.
Prisoners will take part on a voluntary basis at the sewing workshops, which already exist and mainly attract female detainees who want to become dressmakers.
Authorities say no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 illness have been detected among 58,000 inmates at the country’s 150 prison facilities.
Since the start of the outbreak, the justice ministry has suspended family visits and ordered new prisoners into 14-day quarantines in isolated rooms.
Inmates are not allowed to leave the prisons except in case of emergency, and all direct contact with their lawyers has been banned.
According to officially declared figures, Algeria has seen Africa’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak so far.
It has seen 348 deaths and 2,268 cases since the end of February, from a population of 44 million.