First British prisoner catches coronavirus at HMP Manchester

First UK prisoner catches coronavirus: HMP Manchester inmate is taken to hospital after testing positive for killer bug as 13 convicts and four staff are put in isolation

  • Inmate at Strangeways prison in Manchester is now being treated for the virus
  • No other prisoners or wardens tested positive and visits continuing as normal
  • Prison service said 13 inmates and four members of staff are now in isolation 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

A prisoner has tested positive for coronavirus in the first confirmed case of an inmate contracting the disease in the UK. 

The man was behind bars at HMP Manchester and is currently being treated in hospital. 

No other prisoners or wardens tested positive, but 13 inmates and four members of staff are now in isolation. Visits are going ahead as normal. 

It came as the number of confirmed British cases rose to 2,626, up from 1,950 yesterday, as Boris Johnson vowed to dramatically increase the number of tests. 

The man was behind bars at HMP Manchester (pictured)  and is currently being treated in hospital. The prison is also known as Strangeways 

A Prison Service spokesman said: ‘A prisoner at HMP Manchester has tested positive for COVID-19 is currently in hospital. No other prison staff or prisoners have tested positive.

‘Staff are working closely with experts from Public Health England to take appropriate action, including measures to minimise the risk of further infection. 

‘In addition to the wellbeing of all our hard-working staff, along with visitors and prisoners, our priority is to maintain a normal regime for as long as possible, including visits.’ 

It was also announced today that two immigration detention centres near Heathrow Airport are in quarantine due to seasonal flu.

Lucy Moreton, from the Immigration Services Union, told MPs that no detainees are being moved in or out of the centres.

‘They haven’t tested because testing isn’t available, but the two removal centres nearest Heathrow are currently quarantined,’ she said. ‘They have said we are not moving detainees in or out because they have seasonal flu.’ 

No other prisoners or wardens tested positive, but 13 inmates and four members of staff are now in isolation. Visits are going ahead as normal. Pictured is HMP Manchester from the road outside

No other prisoners or wardens tested positive, but 13 inmates and four members of staff are now in isolation. Visits are going ahead as normal. Pictured is HMP Manchester from the road outside  

Last night, lawyers across Britain have warned that the coronavirus outbreak could leave the UK’s justice system in ruins amid a growing backlog of crown court cases.

Criminal trials likely to run longer than three days will be postponed to prevent Covid-19 contamination in courtrooms.

And legal groups suggested that cases could be delayed by years, with the deadly pandemic devastating an already ‘crumbling infrastructure’.

Almost 33,000 criminal cases were already waiting to be heard by crown courts, according to the most recent figures from the Ministery of Justice. 

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