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84-year old Prisoner becomes first inmate to die after being diagnosed with coronavirus

An 84-year-old inmate who had been infected with coronavirus has died.

The prisoner, who had been held at HMP Littlehey in Cambridgeshire, had been transferred to hospital, where he died on Sunday. 

He is the first British prisoner to die after contracting coronavirus. 

A prison service spokesman told the Standard: “An 84-year-old prisoner at HMP Littlehey died in hospital on 22 March.

“Our thoughts are with his family at this time.”

They added that the death will be subject to an investigation by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman. 

Details of when the man was diagnosed with the virus and details as to how he caught it remain unclear. 

HMP Littlehey is a Category C prison for male sex offenders. 

The death comes as the Ministry of Justice confirmed 19 inmates have been infected with coronavirus since the beginning of the outbreak across 10 different prisons.

Four prison staff from four different facilities have also been diagnosed, while three prisoner escorts also have tested positive. 

Concerns have been raised previously over the potential for the new coronavirus to spread in prisons – with suggestions some offenders, likely lower level convicts, could be released amid the outbreak. 

Previously, the general secretary of the Prison Officers Association said releasing prisoners to prevent the spread of coronavirus “may come in the future”.

Union general secretary Steve Gillan described the coronavirus situation in Iran is one nation to already take the step of releasing thousands of inmates in order to stem the spread of the virus in prisons there. 

Andrea Albutt, president of the Prison Governors Association, said conditions inside jails could enable the spread of the virus, while the demographic of populations inside could also make for a serious impact. 

“We have approximately 85,000 people in our prisons and prisons are overcrowded, so when you have a lot of people in a small area, transmission of disease will obviously be easier,” she previously told BBC Radio 4. 

“Coupled with that, we have a significant ageing population – the vulnerable groups, the people the Government keeps telling us will be more susceptible and more ill with this virus.”

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