Visiting has been suspended temporarily at Isle of Man Prison after a small number of prisoners in one wing were identified as Covid positive. The decision has been taken by the prison governor in the interest of the safety of prisoners, staff and the community.
All prisoners, staff and close contacts are now being offered tests.
The wing has been placed in the Black regime, which restricts the amount of time offenders can spend outside their cells. The Red regime is operating in the rest of the prison, allowing the wings to operate a normal regime in their own wing bubble.
Both regimes were deployed during the pandemic in 2020 to avoid transmission of the virus in an enclosed environment, to allow for enhanced cleaning and to reduce the risk of illness among staff leading to potential operational difficulties.
Prison Governor Leroy Bonnick said: ‘We have enjoyed a prolonged period without any Covid cases arising among the prison population. Every step has been taken to prevent the virus entering the prison, which includes careful management of any new arrivals who are Covid positive.
‘Suspending visits is regrettable but necessary at this time. The prison is responsible for a number of vulnerable prisoners, including some who are still unvaccinated. We are taking an abundance of caution to ensure that prisoners, staff and visitors are kept as safe as possible.’
A statement from gov said: ‘The prison leadership team is supported by the prison healthcare service in managing the current limited outbreak. Prisoners are being offered support, including the facility to speak to a member of the Independent Monitoring Board whose role is to monitor day-to-day life within the prison. The suspension of prison visiting will be kept under regular review.’