Second prisoner suspected to have died from coronavirus

Around 30 people are self-isolating across the prison estate, the Scottish Prison Service said.

There are three confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country’s jails, the Scottish Prison Service has said.

Around 30 people are self-isolating across the prison estate as part of measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week John Angus, 66, who was being held at HMP Edinburgh, became the first Scottish prisoner to die after contracting the virus.

Scottish Prison Service (SPS) spokesman Tom Fox told STV News that a second prisoner is suspected to have also died from Covid-19.

Mr Fox said the prison population is at its lowest since March 2018 which is helping with social distancing, and praised the efforts of staff and prisoners.

Earlier, he told BBC Good Morning Scotland: “We’re currently sitting with 7339 people in custody – to put that in context, that’s 821 less than the same week last year, so the population has come down.

“That’s probably due to the court business being interrupted and a variety of other factors, but it’s actually helped us maintain a greater degree of social isolation in prison than would have been possible had that not been the case.

“The population has been declining since the lockdown started and that’s obviously helped because we’re trying to maintain the same levels of social distancing and isolation as people are being asked to maintain in the community.

“It’s a challenge but it’s been made possible both through the hard work of prison staff and NHS staff and the cooperation of people in custody who are cooperating with staff.”

He said that around 30 people across the estate are currently self isolating, while staff absence levels are currently at around 20%.

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