Prison tightens pandemic restrictions, 100 in quarantine

Illustrative photo of covid-19 tests  Library photo: Romain Gamba / Maison Moderne

Illustrative photo of covid-19 tests  Library photo: Romain Gamba / Maison Moderne

Luxembourg’s prison in Schrassig has tightened its covid-19 restrictions, with external visits--except for family--banned and movement restricted within the facility.

The prison administration on Monday said eight people within the prison had tested positive with 100 inmates quarantined.

Schrassig managed to remain largely coronavirus-free in the wake of 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. In mid-April 2021, the prison was placed under partial lockdown.

Under the measures announced on Monday, prisoners will still be able to receive a maximum of two family visitors, including children, separated by a plexiglass wall.

The restrictions will stay in place for two weeks but could be extended depending on infections within the prison, the administration 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.