Covid spike among Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails

Covid spike among Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails
More than two dozen new Covid cases have been confirmed among Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, according to the Palestinian Prisoners' Club.
2 min read
West Bank
10 January, 2022
Palestinians have demanded better treatment of sick detainees [Qassam Muaddi/TNA]

Covid-19 cases have spiked among Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club (PPC) said on Sunday.

At least 25 new cases of Covid have been detected among detainees at the Israeli Negev prison and six more in the Ofer detention centre near Ramallah, the PPC said in a statement.

PPC spokesperson Amani Sarahnah told The New Arab that "in addition to the 31 confirmed case, there are potential new cases in the Rimon prison, where Israeli authorities isolated an entire section, after one of the Israeli guards tested positive".

"Palestinian prisoners in the occupation jails live in overcrowded cells, with six to nine prisoners in a single room of no more than six metres by three," Sarahnah said. 

"They lack hygiene products, which they have to buy themselves. This is why the actual numbers could be much higher, especially that there are new cases of arrest every day," she added.

Around 394 Palestinian prisoners have contracted Covid since April 2020, according to the PPC.

When the first cases appeared, Israeli authorities imposed a total visit ban on Palestinian prisoners for almost a year, before allowing visits again for vaccinated family members. In July 2020, an Israeli court denied Palestinian prisoners the right to physical distancing.

Israeli authorities began to vaccinate Palestinian prisoners in January 2021 after pressure from human rights groups. A month earlier, the minister of interior said that Palestinian prisoners will get the vaccine only after all citizens of Israel have received it.

The health conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have raised concerns among human rights groups over the past year, especially amid claims of medical neglect of some 600 ill prisoners.

On Sunday, Palestinians rallied in the West Bank city of Ramallah to demand the release of 50-year-old Nasser Abu Hmeid - a cancer patient - after a reported deterioration in his condition.