Written Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on COVID-19 Cases Among Prison Inmates and Singapore Prison Service Staff, and Anti-COVID Measures for the Prisons after 2 June 2020, by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law

Published: 04 June 2020


Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether he can provide an update on COVID-19 cases among prison inmates and Singapore Prison Service staff, if any; and (b) what anti-COVID measures are currently planned for the prisons after 2 June 2020.



    1. As part of the Singapore Prison Service’s (SPS) precautionary measures, all newly admitted inmates in the Changi Prison Complex are segregated for 14 days away from the general inmate population. All newly admitted inmates undergo swab tests for COVID-19 upon admission and at the end of the segregation period, before they are allowed to join the general inmate population.


    2. As at 3 June 2020, three inmates and one staff nurse from SPS’s medical service provider had tested positive for COVID-19. These cases are not linked to one another. The inmates were admitted from the community to prison on different days and had tested positive for COVID-19 during their segregation period. The first inmate tested positive on 21 April 2020, the second inmate on 22 April 2020 and the third inmate on 9 May 2020. They were immediately isolated from the rest of the newly admitted inmates under segregation, and housed in a separate prison facility. Two of the inmates have since been discharged from the facility, while the other remains clinically well. The staff nurse tested positive for COVID-19 on 24 April 2020. He has since recovered and is back to work. There were no cases of further infection of COVID-19 arising from these cases.


    3. SPS will only very cautiously and gradually de-escalate circuit breaker measures, given that the prison is a very high risk setting for the spread of COVID-19. Family visits and programmes for inmates will not resume immediately at the end of the circuit breaker period, but only in a slow, step-by-step manner, over a few phases depending on the general situation in the community. SPS will retain the precautionary measures it had implemented since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. These include measures to ensure early detection, infection control and safe distancing. Following the cases detected in late April and early May, there have been no new cases in prison.


Prisons Management and Rehabilitation