Coronavirus outbreak at Lewes Prison
Lewes Prison has been hit by a Covid-19 outbreak.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) confirmed there is an outbreak contained to one wing at the prison in Brighton Road.
A Prison Service spokesman said: “Our priority is to limit the spread of the virus and protect the lives of those who live and work in our prisons.
“We have taken precautionary measures at Lewes, in line with public health guidance, and will continue to closely monitor the situation.”
Prisons have introduced tougher measures to curb the spread of the new variant of Covid-19.
They are routinely testing all staff as well as new prisoners, the MoJ said, as well as isolate those who test positive before they show symptoms.
Other measures include making more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) available to staff, creating an additional 1,200 temporary cells and putting in place an effective system in all prisons and youth custody establishments to limit the spread of the disease.
Prisons minister Lucy Frazer QC MP said: “We continue to take decisive action which is limiting the spread of the virus in our prisons – but the crucial factor is the tireless efforts of our dedicated officers working closely on the ground with outstanding NHS staff and public health experts.
“I am proud of the staff, who are keeping prisoners safe and doing their best to keep them occupied with their innovative ideas.
“Just as the whole government is taking action to control the rapid spread of the virus in the wider population, we will double down on our efforts in jails, helped by the national roll-out of the vaccine.
“As always, my priority remains to limit the spread of the virus to save lives and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed.”
Specially trained staff have been going cell to cell to intensively support those with mental health issues, the MoJ said, and officers have spent longer than ever simply speaking to prisoners – listening to their problems and anxieties.
Staff also continue to support prisoners with vital rehabilitation work, the MoJ added, such as access to in-cell education and exercise, as they have throughout the pandemic. Education for children in custody will also continue.