There are 12 active cases of prisoners infected with COVID-19, a spokesman for the Home Affairs Ministry told Times of Malta.

The inmates were all being held in Corradino Correctional Facility’s Division 6, the maximum-security wing.

The division, normally used as a punitive solitary confinement area, is being used as a quarantine facility to isolate incoming prisoners.

The spokesman said all cases reported at the prison were inmates who had not long been behind bars.

He added that another eight positive cases had been detected at Corradino over the last few weeks but they have since recovered and are back among the general population of the prison. Inmates’ health was being safeguarded by the prison’s medical team, he noted.

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri last week praised the changes in the prison system, saying “discipline and respect towards the authority” were finally being instilled.

Questioned over the number of deaths in prison in recent years, Camilleri said the “absolute majority” of deaths were the result of natural causes, with no evidence of wrongdoing from the side of prison officials in any of the other cases.

Meanwhile, lawyers, reporters and court staff were potentially exposed after the police yesterday arraigned a man who later tested positive for COVID-19.

Times of Malta is informed that two of three men facing minor charges had tested negative, the third one had not yet received his results by the time he was taken to court.

A source present in the court room said the police could not hold the suspects any longer because the maximum 48 hours for lawful detainment had elapsed. So, the police charged the suspect in court even though he had no test results yet.

Those who appeared in court included a husband accused of forcing himself on his wife and a man who was charged with vandalising several bus stops across the island.

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