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Cyprus: Nicosia prisons lays out measures taken since March 10

The department for prisons on Friday announced inmates have been allowed additional phone hours and skype calls during the month that visitation has been cancelled due to Covid-19.

In an announcement wishing happy Easter holidays to the inmates, the department numbered all the measures implemented since March 10 to avoid the spread of coronavirus in the prisons.

All visitation has been cancelled since March 15, while the hours inmates are allowed to make calls have been extended until 8.30pm daily including weekends and holidays.

Apart from phone communications, the announcement said all prisoners are allowed skype calls since March 6, a privilege only for those whose families are abroad.

As part of the preventive measures, on April 9 the medical officer and a nurse were trained on how to perform a coronavirus test.

The department installed a thermal camera in the entrance to check those who enter the prison sot see if they have a fever. Antiseptic dispensers and informative material were also put up in the entrance and other points around the prison and staff offices.

Also, since March 16, the gym was temporarily closed, and exercise is only allowed in open spaces.

No one is allowed to enter the prison or come in contact with prisoners who have symptoms similar to the coronavirus, or who has come in contact with a confirmed case or has travelled abroad recently.

New detainees from third countries or who are transferred to prison from police detention and show symptoms of the virus are isolated in an assigned space and do not come in contact with other prisoners.

Prisoners on temporary release must sign a statement of responsibility stating they will avoid coming into contact with a person who has coronavirus symptoms or has come in contact with a person who tested positive for Covid-19, or has recently travelled.

Those who exit for court hearings wear protective equipment.

Any clothes sent to the prisoners must have been washed in 40 degrees Celsius. Their relatives must sign a statement attesting to that.

The department has temporarily suspended all projects within the prison to limit the number of people who come in contact with the inmates.

The measures concern the inmates, new detainees, civilian personnel, mental health services staff, social welfare services, the department of public works, the department of electromechanical services, visitors, lawyers, suppliers, as well as anyone who enters the department for work.

All the preventive measures and directions are updated according to the circumstances, the prisons department said.

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