Covid: Two HMP Risley inmates die after outbreak

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image captionHM Prison Service said it would "continue to closely monitor the situation"

Two inmates have died and four more are being treated in hospital after a Covid outbreak at a prison.

The Ministry of Justice said about 12 prisoners and staff had recently tested positive for the virus on two wings at HMP Risley in Warrington.

The Category C men's jail has not had any positive cases in the past seven days, it added.

HM Prison Service said it had taken precautionary measures and would "closely monitor the situation".

"Our priority is to limit the spread of the virus and protect the lives of those who live and work in our prisons," a spokeswoman said.

The Prison Service confirmed the two inmates died during the week of 15 February but said it was for the coroner to establish the cause of death.

It comes after "serious concerns" were raised about the mental health of prisoners at HMP Risley, which houses about 1,000 men.

During an inspection in November, HM Inspectorate of Prisons found some inmates were being locked up for 28 hours at a time due to Covid-19 restrictions.

But HMP Risley said it had "prioritised safety" and the "measures have undoubtedly saved lives".

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