Fact Check: Has The Delta Variant Invaded Roumieh Prison?

After the Health Ministry revealed last week that the Delta variant has been recorded in Lebanon, there have been reports of increased cases, with the real number of confirmed infections being much higher than what official figures indicate.

In a statement issued by Roumieh prisoners, they made a cry for help in light of the new variant and overall neglect they face.

Claim: The prisoners in Roumieh claimed that the Delta variant is “sweeping” the prison buildings. “Roumieh is under a death sentence,” they said, highlighting the absence of the state and the great health neglect.

“Even the simplest medicines are no longer available, and what makes matters worse is the state’s inability to transfer sick and injured detainees to hospitals,” they said, which is true about life outside the prison as well.

Verdict: The Delta variant has not reached Roumieh prison, aside from one case that was transferred from outside of the prison to quarantine.

Context: On Tuesday, the Internal Security Forces (ISF) denied the claims circulating about the Delta variant reaching Roumieh prison.

Denying further claims about the water causing infection for one of the prisoners, the ISF stressed that water at the prison is clean and that the prison is equipped with filters provided by the ICRC.

However, the claim of possible neglect of prisoners’ health is not completely unfounded. The head of the Beirut Bar Association, Melhem Khalaf, witnessed the tragic conditions of Lebanon’s prisons himself in 2019.

It’s worth noting that the United States recently donated personal protective equipment to the Internal Security Forces (ISF) to be used in prisons among inmates, detainees, and correctional staff.

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