Reports say dozens of inmates at the Kondengui prison in Yaounde have contracted the coronavirus.
This confirms earlier fears expressed by some persons in the prison last week after the quick evacuation of some sick inmates.
Many rights groups have initiated calls for persons awaiting trial to be released or their trial hastened to decongest the facility.
Weeks earlier, some 81 media, press freedom, and human rights organisations led by the Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ also called for the release of pressmen being detained nationwide.
Like other inmates, many of these journalists they said: “have been held in detention without trial for lengthy periods and are suffering from ill-health exacerbated by underlying health conditions and overcrowded prisons, where they have contracted malaria, tuberculosis, and other diseases.”
On March 27, 2020, Human Rights Watch, HRW also made a similar call, noting that Cameroon is bound by international norms to ensure proper health care of detainees, a thing it says government “cannot do that in this pandemic with such overcrowding.”
“Authorities should release individuals whose pretrial detention is not absolutely justified on public safety grounds and put in place a system for considering early or supervised release for those most at risk, including older people and people with health conditions that makes the virus more dangerous for them, as well as those in custody for minor offenses” the statement reads.
Cameroon’s prisons have often been criticised for overcrowding as well as poor hygienic conditions.