A group of five people who remained in a cell of the Judiciary was transferred this afternoon to a prison system facility. But one of them tested positive for the Coronavirus, as reported by the Ministry of Justice and Peace, the person required medical attention in a San José Hospital.

The situation did not prevent the rest of the detainees being transferred to the western complex of the Jorge Arturo Montero prison in San Rafael de Alajuela (known as La Reforma), where they will be isolated and under medical supervision for a period of 14 days. The infected person, meanwhile, will keep the same quarantine but for 18 days.

The Ministry spokesperson indicated that in the same penitentiary center, special cleaning protocols are applied at this time, since a former prisoner who left just on June 26th also gave a positive test result.

“We do not know if the contagion occurred while the person was outside the prison. The incubation period must be taken into account, so we immediately activate the preventive care protocols,” said Deputy Minister Diana Posada.

The situation of national prisons in the midst of the Pandemic has generated alert in various institutions, due to the particular conditions of the centers. Since last April, the Ombudsman’s Office has demanded that the ministries of Justice and Health, as well as the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) submit specific protocols to address the threat.

On June 2nd, the Constitutional Chamber ordered that the critical overcrowding in the La Reforma Alimony Pension Unit be eliminated. The State of the Nation Program called for monitoring the confinement spaces, especially in light of their collapsed capacity, which in general terms reached over 30% at the beginning of this year.

In the article “COVID-19 and Prisons: A Time Bomb”, the expert Jesús Solís warned that in the case of La Reforma 60 people remain crowded in an area planned for 40. While in the Puntarenas prison, the bedrooms with capacity for 40 inmates receive up to 73.

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