Published: 15:58, February 21, 2020 | Updated: 07:34, June 6, 2023
China: 8 officials removed as hundreds of prisoners infected
By Cheng Si in Beijing, Ma Zhenhuan in Hangzhou and Zhao Ruixue in Jinan

A total of 447 infection cases of the novel coronavirus pneumonia, or COVID-19, were confirmed in three prisons on Friday.

Prisons in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, added 220 confirmed cases as of Thursday, bringing the number of new confirmed cases in the province on that day to 631, according to a release by the province's health commission on Friday.

Earlier in the day, the commission reported 411 new confirmed cases in the province on Thursday.

Prisons in Hubei added 220 new cases, the Rencheng Prison in Shandong's Jining reported 200 cases, and Shilifeng Prison in Quzhou in western Zhejiang saw 27 new infections

Another 10 suspected cases were also found in the prisons.

So far, the province's prisons have reported 271 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, among which 51 cases were included in the previous data.

With the new additional cases, the total number of confirmed cases in the province as of Thursday now stands at 62,662, and there are now 4,094 suspected cases in total.

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In east China's Shandong province, 202 new cases were reported on Thursday, with 200 cases from Rencheng Prison in Jining, according to a press conference held by the Information Office of the Shandong Provincial People's Government on Friday.

Xie Weijun, head of Shandong Provincial Department of Justice, was removed from his post due to negligent prevention and control work at the prison. Seven other officials were also removed from their posts, Xinhua reports.

Among the 200 patients, 125 are mild cases and 75 are ordinary patients. The province is sparing no efforts to cure the patients, including building a special hospital.

The suspected cases and those who had contact with confirmed patients are under quarantine for further medical tests.

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The Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China Central Committee has sent a team to Shandong Province to launch a comprehensive investigation into the outbreak at Rencheng Prison, Xinhua reports.

The task force, led by Lei Dongsheng, vice-secretary-general of the commission, consists of officials from the commission, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice.

In East China's Zhejiang, both the warden and the political commissar of a local prison were sacked from their posts after 34 prisoners were infected, according to the local authorities on Friday.

Shilifeng Prison, located in Quzhou in western Zhejiang, reported 27 new confirmed cases on Friday, bringing the total number of infected prisoners up to 34.

The prison has been put under closed management and all the prisoners who had been confirmed with the infection are under medical treatment, with suspected cases and those who had contact with confirmed patients under isolation.

Local police have launched an investigation into a prison policeman who was involved in the outbreak.

With Xinhua inputs