On 12 May, the Corrections Department published a press release revealing that 2,835 people inside the prison complex at Klong Prem are infected with Covid-19 after testing inmates and wardens. This amounts to 36.5 percent of the entire population.
On 13 May, according to Matichon, Corrections Department Director-General Aryut Sinthoppan, Deputy Director-General Weerakit Hanpariphan and spokesperson Watchai Mingbunjerdsuk gave a Facebook live address on infections inside the prisons.
Aryut said the prisons are tracing and controlling the infection rate. Any prison with a high infection rate can ask the provincial governor for permission to establish a field hospital within the prison perimeter.
Weerakit said prison hospitals may not have enough experts to deal with the large numbers of infected people. Doses of favipiravir and equipment such as ventilators, PPE, rapid test kits and fans are being requested from other organizations. Hospital facilities such as electricity, water, televisions, sanitizers and hygiene systems should be ready soon.
The Deputy Director-General said that Panupong Jadnok, another detained pro-democracy protester whose bail hearing was postponed on 11 May, was infected with Covid-19. He has been transferred to the prison hospital.
As of 12 May, 1,795 infected persons are in Bangkok Remand Prison which houses 3,275 inmates and 1,040 are in the Central Women's Correctional Institution which houses 4,485 inmates. The press release does not break down how many inmates and staff are infected. All of the infected are undergoing treatment at the field hospital inside the prison hospital.
The anti-viral Favipiravir has been distributed to patients according to their symptoms. Those whose condition becomes serious will be transferred to outside hospitals.
The Corrections Department explained that prisoners are detained in a quarantine zone for 21 days upon arrival. The infections were found among new inmates and those that often have to appear in court.
The number marks a sudden increase in the infection figures for Thailand.
The Medical Correctional Institution Facebook page reports 13 infected patients on 27 April, with the figures gradually increasing to 64 on 1 May.
6 pro-democracy protesters who are currently detained in the prison have been infected: Anon Nampa, Chukiat Sangwong, Tawat Sukprasert, Sakchai Tangchitsadudi , Somkhit Tosoi and Chaluai Ekasak.
In addition, Parinya Cheewinpatomkul, a member of the Faiyen band who was released today, has also tested positive. Panusaya Sitthijirawattanakul, another leading pro-democracy protest figure tested positive on Tuesday after being released from the prison on 6 May.
Panusaya attempted to get tested immediately after leaving prison, but was refused by the hospital as she had neither symptoms nor contacts with people known to be infected. She went for a test again on 10 May after she displayed symptoms.