An 84-year-old sex offender with underlying health conditions has become the first prisoner in the United Kingdom (UK) to be killed by the coronavirus, reports have said.
The convict was one of the country’s oldest inmates and died at HMP Littlehey in Cambridgeshire three days ago.
It is understood the deadly virus was only detected in the man, who has not been named, after he died in the category C prison.
A source told the Sun: ‘There are a number of shared cells. It’s not clear if others, including inmates and prison officers, have been affected.’
It comes after the Ministry of Justice confirmed earlier today that 19 inmates across 10 UK prisons have tested positive for coronavirus.
Yesterday it was announced prisons across England and Wales would be shutting down jail visits in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
A number of prisons have already confirmed cases of the bug as figures soared across the UK and Boris Johnson ordered Britons to stay inside.
But anxiety inside jails over coronavirus continues to grow due to the close proximity of prisoners and fears staff will go off sick with the disease.
Yesterday the Ministry of Justice confirmed visitors would no longer be allowed to enter the establishments in an effort to keep staff, inmates and families safe and protect the NHS’s ability to cope with the surge in coronavirus cases.
The Prisoner Officer’s Association (POA) also confirmed that inmates would be locked up for most hours of the day and would be let out only to access necessities such as showers or to use the phones and exercise.
National chair of the POA, Mark Fairhurst, confirmed that the new plans were approved on Monday night after talks with the government brought to light that more prisoners were showing symptoms of the coronavirus.
He told The Independent: ‘More and more staff are self-isolating, more and more prisoners are showing symptoms of Covid-19, and in order to protect staff, prisoners and the general public, it is now necessary to self-isolate our prisoners to stop the spread.’
He added: ‘We’ve continued to work normally for as long as we possibly can and I think families of prisoners will be relieved that they’re not at risks and prisoners will be relieved that their loved ones will be safe at home instead of travelling all over the country into packed visit halls and putting themselves at risk.
‘In my local prison, HMP Liverpool, prisoners have been asking why they haven’t been locked down yet, so we’re hoping there will be a sensible reaction from prisoners. They must realise that this is for their safety and their loved ones.’
HMP Oakwood , HMP Manchester and HMP High Down have all confirmed cases of coronavirus.
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A source told the Daily Record: ‘A hardcore of prisoners at HMP Addiewell went on the rampage and smashed things up, leading to a lockdown.
‘They situation there has been growing more tense every day, as there is no effective way to apply social distancing inside a jail.
A Scottish Prison Service spokesman said the incident had now been dealt with.
She said: ‘An incident took place yesterday in HMP Addiewell where a small number of individuals were involved in a disturbance in one section of the establishment.
‘The incident was brought to a safe conclusion and the prison was secured on Monday night. The individuals involved have been reported to Police Scotland.’