The prison managed to remain largely coronavirus-free since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020. One prisoner tested positive in April last year after being newly admitted. He was placed in quarantine and no other cases were reported.
It took until March 2021 for the next positive case to be diagnosed.
Currently, however, 15 infections at the Schrassig penitentiary (CPL) are considered active and Luxembourg’s prison administration on Thursday said it would allow only family visits but no other outside contact.
The prisoners who tested positive show no or only mild symptoms of illness and have been placed in an isolated section of the prison. Anyone who was in contact with them has been quarantined awaiting a negative test result.
The government on Thursday outlined its rapid antigen test strategy in schools and the prison administration in its statement said the self-administered tests would also be used in Schrassig very soon.
“The health situation at CPL is under control and sufficient operational reserves are available in the event the situation worsens,” it said.
Last year in April, around 40 inmates went on hunger strike in protest over being kept at the prison during the pandemic. They demanded that family visits--which were largely banned during lockdown--should resume or that release dates should be advanced, which the justice ministry refused.
Some countries--including France, Germany and the UK--at the start of the pandemic had released criminals convicted for minor offences to reduce prison populations in a bid to prevent outbreaks and clusters within the institutions.