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Advocate group joins calls for corrections minister’s resignation over handling of COVID-19

Click to play video: 'Inmates stage hunger strike, call for Saskatchewan corrections minister’s resignation' Inmates stage hunger strike, call for Saskatchewan corrections minister’s resignation
WATCH: Saskatchewan's official Opposition has also renewed its call for Corrections Minister Christine Tell to resign – Jan 5, 2021

A group of advocates are joining calls for the province’s minister of corrections to resign amid the COVID-19 pandemic, after inmates at correctional centres in Prince Albert and Saskatoon started refusing meals.

The strike started Monday. Prisoners are calling for Christine Tell’s resignation for failing to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in the province’s jails.

Read more: Inmates stage hunger strike, call for Saskatchewan corrections minister’s resignation

There have been outbreaks at correctional centres in Regina and Saskatoon.

Now, a Saskatoon-based group the Indigenous Joint Action Coalition has started a petition calling for Tell’s removal. It took part in a day of solidarity with those incarcerated Wednesday.

“Minister Christine Tell has let down a lot of people,” said group spokesperson Erica Violet Lee. In August 2020, the advocacy group called for prisons to be abolished.

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Read more: Saskatoon advocate calls for prisons to be abolished

“These systems are inherently flawed in the way that they lock people away from society, in the way people in prison are considered less worthy than those that aren’t.”

As of Wednesday evening, the petition has over 400 signatures.

Read more: Nearly 100 Saskatoon jail inmates and staff diagnosed with COVID-19

According to the Ministry of Justice, 22 inmates were refusing food trays at Pine Grove Correctional Centre in Prince Albert, and 51 at the Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre as of Wednesday.

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan no longer holding back coronavirus vaccine doses' Saskatchewan no longer holding back coronavirus vaccine doses
Saskatchewan no longer holding back coronavirus vaccine doses – Jan 6, 2021

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

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Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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