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Caring for Persons in Detention Suffering with Mental Illness during the Covid-19 Outbreak

Published time: 03 April 2020

Authors: Michael Liebrenz, Dinesh Bhugra, Anna Buadze, Roman Schleifer

Keywords: Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2


There is a disproportionate number of individuals with mental and somatic illnesses among persons in detention (Bhugra, 2020; Ginn, 2012). It is also known that infections which are transmitted human to human via droplet or close contact spread particularly well in confined spaces. Since transfer options for further treatment are more difficult (especially in detention facilities) preventive measures are strongly emphasized, particularly in the case of viral droplet infections. For example, in the context of influenza, vaccination of detainees and staff is recommended (NHS 2019). If such options are not available, prisons and other closed facilities, like asylum centers, shelters, and closed psychiatric hospitals, pose a risk for the rapid spread of such diseases. In the past, Australia for example has described the rapid spread of influenza among prison inmates (Awofeso et al., 2001).

Caring for persons in detention suffering with mental illness during the Covid-19 outbreak



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