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Bolivia: inmates riot due to COVID outbreak

Prisoners claim that the biosecurity measures were practically non-existent among the prison population.

Bolivian police forces repressed May 11 an inmate riot in Palmasola prison, in Santa Cruz city. Convicts protested due to a Covid-19 outbreak among the prison population.

The authorities at the Palmasola penitentiary said two inmates who died last week after presenting respiratory distress. Local news media reported first deceased autopsy revealed he was COVID positive and was buried according to health protocols.

According to prison official, about 19 inmates cohabited with one of them, all now isolated. Rodolfo Montero, National Police commander, stated the second possible Covid-19 positive case kept contact with over 200 convicts. “It doesn’t warrant further concern,” Montero affirmed to local news media.

Inmate riots screamed, “We want to live,” “We don’t want to die of Coronavirus” and “Freedom, freedom” claiming for better health assistance facing indoor virus spreading. “This is not a riot, is a fight for life,” they wrote in protesting signs.

“Inmates of the Palmasola prison are rioting because of the health crisis, one inmate has already died because of Covid-19, they are asking for better conditions to face the pandemic. “We want to live” is their cry of protest.”

Prisoners claim that the biosecurity measures were practically non-existent among the prison population. Inmates cannot comply with social isolation, quarantine, and appropriate hygiene measures to face the virus due to overcrowding and scarcity of health supplies.

Palmasola is the largest Bolivian prison. The penitentiary center hosting capacity of 800 inmates. Currently, it is overcrowded housing over 6,000 inmates. Alongside, Santa Cruz region has the highest contagious toll in Bolivia, 1,633.

Currently, Bolivia has registered 2,831 positive cases, 122 deaths, and 299 recoveries.

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