Published: 21:41, 16 November 2020
| Updated: 21:57, 16 November 2020
It is understood more than 90 men in the cell block at HMP Elmley at Eastchurch have coronavirus. The wing for remand prisoners awaiting court appearances normally holds around 300 men.
There were unconfirmed reports that a third of the prisoners had refused to be tested.
A prison service spokeswoman did not confirm the numbers but said: “Our priority is to limit the spread of the virus and to protect the lives of those who live and work in our prisons.
“We have taken precautionary measures at HMP Elmley following a number of positive cases, in line with public health guidance, and will continue to closely monitor the situation.”
The outbreak, she said, was currently limited to one wing.
Staff are supporting prisoners to remain in contact with family through phone calls. All the other wings remain unaffected.
Last month part of the prison was isolated after two officers and two prisoners tested positive for coronavirus.
In June, the Ministry of Defence published a strategy for managing the pandemic. It included quarantining new arrivals, isolating those who show symptoms, shielding the vulnerable and providing staff with personal protective equipment.
HMP Elmley is a large category B men’s prison which can hold up to 1,100 inmates. It was opened in 1992.