Five inmates in Takeo provincial prison have now tested positive for Covid-19 and currently officials are searching for any other cases and anyone who came into direct or indirect contact with them.

Prison officials remain hopeful that the outbreak will be manageable, according to Nuth Savana, spokesman for the General Department of Prisons (GDP).

Savana told The Post on July 4: “The people confirmed positive for Covid-19 are being treated at the prison facility because we have room there [to isolate] infected people, but if they have serious symptoms we will take them for treatment outside.”

Meanwhile, Nuth Sinath, director of the Takeo provincial health department, also told The Post on July 4 that medical staff had discovered the Covid-19 positive inmates after testing samples from 135 inmates and 15 prison guards.

“The Covid-19 situation in Takeo province is that the numbers continue to increase every day and everywhere,” he said.

Sinath said the inmates are thought to have become infected by relatives who came to visit them at the prison.

According to Sinath, Takeo has had 2,700 Covid-19 cases with 46 fatalities.

Takeo provincial administration spokesman Meas Uy said that Covid-19 case numbers in the province continued to increase with no sign of any decline. There were some villages that had been temporarily closed after a series of Covid-19 positive people were found.

There have been cases of transmission to the provincial prisons in the past and the government at one point announced the planned administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine, marketed as CoviShield, to all inmates.

Uy said both medical staff and the prison officials have been working together to prevent any further outbreaks.

“The province is being very careful and cautious with our prison inmates. However, Takeo province has already gone through large outbreaks in our factories, but we’ve been able to control them. We will be able to control them in our prison too,” he said.

According to Savana, 19 inmates in Cambodia have tested positive for Covid-19, but many of them have now recovered. There are 1,070 inmates total currently being held in Takeo provincial prison.