More than half of the prisons in England and Wales have an inmate who has tested positive for coronavirus, new figures have revealed.
Data from the Ministry of Justice shows there are 232 prisoners who have tested positive for the deadly virus across 60 of the 117 prisons in England and Wales, as of 5pm on Wednesday.
Yesterday, MailOnline reported that 218 prisoners have tested positive for coronavirus across 57 prisons – meaning an increase of 14 inmates and three prisons.
Figures show 12 inmates are known to have died after contracting Covid-19, though it is believed that a thirteenth prisoner may have died, according to data discussed at the most recent Justice Select Committee.
Some 96 prison staff have tested positive across 38 prisons, as well as seven prisoner escort and custody services staff.
Two staff members at Pentonville Prison in north London died after showing symptoms of coronavirus.
More than half of all prisons in England and Wales have an inmate who has tested positive for coronavirus. Twelve prisoners have died, while two staff members at HMP Pentonville in north London (pictured) also died after showing symptoms of coronavirus.
Bovil Peter and Patrick Beckford died after suffering coronavirus symptoms, the Prison Officers’ Association said.
It is not known if either man had previous health issues.
Three of the deaths among inmates were at HMP Littlehey in Cambridgeshire, with others being held at Birmingham, Manchester, Altcourse in Merseyside, Belmarsh in South East London, Whatton in Nottinghamshire and a female prisoner at Low Newton, County Durham.
The latest figures come after the government announced earlier this month that 4,000 low-risk prisoners who have less than two months left of their sentence will be eligible for early release, to try to control the spread of coronavirus.
So far there have been more than 100,000 confirmed cases across the UK, and 13,729 deaths.
The Probation Service later announced that all those freed early, on temporary licence, will be electronically monitored before they leave prison.
Meanwhile, medical experts are said to be asking the Government to release 15,000 inmates across England and Wales to protect other prisoners and staff.
The recommendations were set out by Public Health England and the Prison Service after a submission by the Prison Governors’ Association, reported the Daily Star.
The PGA wrote: ‘Our members have reported to the PGA National Executive Committee that Public Health England and HMPPS require a reduction of 15,000 prisoners in order to truly safeguard prisoners and staff.’
Twelve prisoners have died after testing positive for coronavirus, including three in HMP Littlehey (pictured), Cambridgeshire, where an 84-year-old man has become the first British prisoner to die after contracting coronavirus
Earlier this month, around 3,500 prison staff – representing about a tenth of the workforce – were said to be in self-isolation due to suspected Covid-19.
Concerns about staffing levels growing dangerously low have led to Prison Officers’ Union chief Dave Cook for the military to be drafted in as back up.
Edwin Hillier, 84, was jailed for sex attacks on young girls in the 1970s
The first inmate to die after contracting coronavirus was Edwin Hillier, 84, who was jailed for sex attacks on young girls in the 1970s.
He was rushed to hospital with suspected sepsis on March 20 but post-mortem results showed he had also contracted coronavirus.
A female child abuser became the first woman to die from coronavirus in prison on April 4.
The woman, 46, was serving a nine-year jail term for child sex offences.
Visits to all jails have now been banned by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).
A spokesperson for the MOJ said: ‘We have robust and flexible plans in place to protect the lives of our staff, prisoners and visitors, based on the latest advice from Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care.’