The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) confirmed that a Malaysian who is scheduled to be hanged today for drug trafficking tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov 9, 2021, and will receive medical attention.
Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam, 33, had appeared at the Court of Appeal on Tuesday for a last-bid attempt against his death sentence when the court was informed that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
According to SPS, an antigen rapid test (ART) and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test were administered on Nagaenthran on Nov 8, 2021, and the test came back negative on the same day.
“He was brought to court at noon of Nov 9, 2021. Upon receipt of his positive PCR test result later that afternoon, SPS immediately informed the court and Nagaenthran was isolated,” SPS said on its website.
In view of the situation, the Court of Appeal granted a stay of judicial execution with immediate effect until all pending proceedings concluded.
SPS said Nagaenthran will receive medical attention and proceedings will resume on a date to be fixed, after he has recovered.
“Nagaenthran is well and asymptomatic. He did not report any illness prior to his court hearing. He is not vaccinated as he had opted not to receive any COVID-19 vaccine,” said SPS.
SPS said it has informed his family and will continue to provide the family with the necessary support.
SPS said, as of Nov 9, several prison inmates and staff from Institution A1 where Nagaenthran is housed have tested positive for COVID-19.
Affected housing units in Institution A1, the prison institution, have been locked down to prevent the further spread of the virus.
SPS said Nagaenthran had only transient contact with two staff who had tested positive.
Given the number of cases in the community during this phase of the pandemic more cases of infection expected to arise in the prisons as well, and SPS said it has taken steps to ensure that the situation remains under control.
As of Nov 7, 97 per cent of eligible inmates have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 90 per cent have completed both doses.
Meanwhile, 99.5 per cent of prison staff have completed both doses of vaccination, said SPS.
SPS said it will continue with its safe management measures to safeguard the health and safety of the inmates, staff, visitors, and partners.
“Staff and partners entering prison facilities must undergo ART twice weekly, while external personnel entering prisons on an ad-hoc basis are required to undergo an ART prior to each entry into prisons,” it said.