UN urges prisoner releases to avoid virus contagion

Countries must protect people in detention from the COVID-19 pandemic by releasing vulnerable prisoners, the UN’s rights chief said on Wednesday.

“Covid-19 has begun to strike prisons, jails and immigration detention centres, as well as residential care homes and psychiatric hospitals, and risks rampaging through such institutions’ extremely vulnerable populations,” Michelle Bachelet said in a statement. “Authorities should examine ways to release those particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, among them older detainees and those who are sick, as well as low-risk offenders.”