Restrictions eased at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre
Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre (AGCC) has reverted to Stage 3 restrictions following two weeks of lockdown after two custodial officers tested positive to COVID-19.
More than 400 of the centres 530 officers and about 170 prisoners were placed in quarantine as a result of the cases. After two rounds of testing and no further positive cases amongst officers, the centre is easing restrictions, with prisoners being unlocked today to resume a modified structured day.
Commissioner Peter Martin said that the decision to move to Stage 4 restrictions was not made lightly, and done so on the advice of the Chief Health Officer and Queensland Health.
“We appreciate that a two week lockdown is difficult and challenging for officers and prisoners alike, however the fact that we have not seen any positive cases amongst prisoners or further cases in staff shows that the measures taken were effective.
“International experience shows that prison populations are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, both due to the confined living environment and the poorer health of prisoners than the general population. Prisons across the world have been ravaged by COVID-19, with many officers and prisoners losing their lives in outbreaks.
“We are incredibly thankful that our measures, guided by the best advice of Queensland Health, have paid off.
“Of course we cannot afford to be complacent, and while ever there is community transmission, we risk another incursion into our centres. This is why our South East Queensland centres remain in Stage 3 restrictions, with all non-essential visits suspended.
“I want to commend the work of our officers from across the agency for working together to support the operations of AGCC at this incredibly challenging time, and I welcome back the officers who have been in quarantine for the past two weeks,” Commissioner Martin said.
The centre has been forensically cleaned a number of times during the lockdown, with a particular focus on officer’s stations and communal areas.