First prisoner dies of virus in Italy, watchdog group
Rome: A first prisoner in Italy has died of coronavirus, a prison watchdog group said on Thursday, calling for more early releases of inmates from the country's overcrowded system.
Two prison guards have died of the virus, and 19 inmates out of a total inmate population of 58,000 have tested positive, according to Italy's justice ministry.
“The first prisoner death from Covid-19 confirms all our worries about the tragic consequences of a contagion within prisons,” said prisoner rights group Antigone in a statement, without providing further details.
Over 120 guards have tested positive, Antigone said.
Italy has reported over 110,000 cases of coronavirus. More than 13,000 people have died, representing the world's highest death toll for coronavirus.
Prisons, where small cells are often shared by three inmates, are a particular public health worry, especially since 67% of inmates have at least one already existing health condition, Antigone said. Pope Francis specifically mentioned prisoners during his prayer on Sunday, saying that coronavirus within the crowded prison system “could turn into a tragedy.” - AFP