Coronavirus outbreak hits Scottish prison

A prisoner standing in the shadows in a cell block
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An outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19) has hit a Scottish prison, with nearly 100 inmates affected so far.

Outbreak

Some 97 prisoners at HMP Perth tested positive for the virus forcing everyone living there to isolate while mass testing gets under way, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) said.

Inmates will not have access to courts, lawyers and family visits, and they can’t use the gym. But they will be allowed fresh air and showers as well as use of mobile phones, the SPS added. The service said a “significant number” of affected prisoners did not have symptoms.

HMP Perth holds an average of 678 prisoners per day. And it’s home to male offenders on remand and short and long-term offenders, including prisoners serving life sentences and sex criminals, said the SPS.

SPS response

An SPS spokesperson said:

The safety and wellbeing of all those living and working in our establishments is a priority for the Scottish Prison Service.

We are currently managing an outbreak in HMP Perth. There are currently 97 confirmed cases of Covid amongst those in our care at HMP Perth. A significant number of these individuals are asymptomatic positives.

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As a precautionary measure, all individuals living in HMP Perth are currently isolating whilst mass testing is carried out.

A further update will be provided on 19 July, the spokesperson added.

The Canary has previously reported on the conditions some inmates have faced in UK prisons during the pandemic.

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