Malta: PN suggests temporary prisons to ease overcrowding and virus risk at Corradino

The government should consider setting up temporary prisons to ease overcrowding at Corradino prison and the related risk of the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus, the shadow minister for home affairs said on Thursday.

Beppe Fenech Adami said the prison authorities should segregate elderly prisoners and others who are vulnerable because of their medical situation.

They should also consider house arrest for prisoners approaching the end of their terms, with security provisions including electronic tagging.

Some 200 of the prison cells at Corradino are currently occupied by more than one inmate.

Speaking at a press conference, Fenech Adami also called for additional safeguards for police who come into regular contact with people, including the provision of masks and protective gear, and regular fumigation of police stations.

An education campaign should also encourage people not to call at police stations needlessly, he said.

He said measures also needed to be taken urgently to avoid the spread of coronavirus at detention centres.

Fenech Adami thanked all forces of law and order for their services and criticised the government for having delayed the closure of the airport. The government had reacted late and it had shown it was not prepared for the situation, he said.

Toni Bezzina, PN spokesman on public transport, said commuters should be prevented from sitting next to each other on buses and sanitisers should be provided.

He called for protective gear for drivers and said extra buses should be deployed at peak times to prevent the formation of queues.

Malta Public Transport last week announced that buses would no longer take standing passengers. It also said buses are being fumigated every day.

Robert Cutajar, PN spokesman on local government, called for more involvement of local councils in the fight against the virus spread, such as by empowering them to use local wardens to enforce regulations being issued by the health authorities to stop people congregating in public places.