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Pakistan: Punjab prisoners at heightened risk of covid-19

, Index number: ASA 33/2032/2020

An inmate at Camp Jail, with a prison population of 3,500 people, in the provincial capital Lahore tested positive for coronavirus before being transferred to a medical facility. Prisons in Punjab face massive overcrowding, with limited hygiene supplies and insufficient access to healthcare. Enforcing inmates to practice social distancing would be impossible, given the overcrowding, drastically increasing the potential for the virus to spread. Pakistani authorities must protect the health of all prisoners and should urgently consider measures to reduce the prison population. Should the government fail to act now, Pakistani prisons and detention centers could become hotspots for the transmission of coronavirus.