They were found positive during random testing. Senior jail officials said that they were all asymptomatic.
The barrack has been converted into an L-1 hospital where a team of doctors are monitoring the patients.
Jailor Satish Chandra Tripathi said a preliminary investigation revealed that the infection spread from some jail officials who had gone outside the premises. “All patients have been isolated in the barracks,” he said.
On January 1, during a routine Covid test, none of the inmates had tested positive.
The sudden increase in the number of Covid cases is a cause for concern.
A senior district official said, “We are taking all precautions to ensure that the virus does not spread further.”
There are 1,275 inmates and 50 staff members in the Basti jail.