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Court told of "significant covid outbreak" in prison

Court told of

Friday 25 March 2022

Court told of "significant covid outbreak" in prison

Friday 25 March 2022

The Magistrate's Court was told yesterday that the Prison is currently experiencing a major outbreak of covid-19.

Today marks two years to the day since the Bailiwick entered its first lockdown in response to the arrival of cases of the virus.

Defending a man who was in front of the Court, Defence Advocate Paul Lockwood urged Judge Graeme McKerrell not to jail his client, arguing that his crimes did not warrant imprisonment, but also advising that there is currently a large number of cases of covid-19 at Les Nicolles.

“The States’ prison has had a significant covid outbreak,” said Advocate Lockwood. 

Express asked the States about claims of a covid outbreak at the Prison. No information was provided before initial publication of this article this morning, but early this afternoon the Prison Governor, John De Carteret, issued the following statement:

"We currently have a significant number of staff off with covid-19 and, while that is not impacting our ability to safely operate the prison, we have had to take necessary steps to slow the spread of the virus and manage the current reduction in staffing.

"We know from previous experience with managing the virus within a prison environment that the quickest way to return to a more normal situation is to keep everyone apart as much as possible, so we have instigated measures to achieve this.

"This unfortunately includes prisoners spending more time in their cell than we would like or is normal and removing access to communal areas such as the gym. We are also asking everyone to take a lateral flow test daily at the moment until this outbreak is under control.

"We have already seen an improvement in the position since this was introduced last week and we’re reviewing the situation daily."


Pictured: There has been a steep increase in covid-19 cases since emergency laws to help contain the spread of infection came to an end in the middle of last month and the States say this is placing considerable pressure on essential services. 

It was reported on Tuesday that the number of known active cases of covid in the Bailiwick was approaching 4,000 – easily surpassing the previous high for number of cases recorded at any one time since the pandemic reached the Bailiwick two years ago.

But health officials have acknowledged that the actual number of infections is likely to be higher than the number reported. When known cases stood at around 2,500 last week, Dr Nicola Brink, the Medical Officer of Health, said she would not be surprised if the actual number was double the recorded number. 

Express understands that senior politicians in Guernsey currently have no intention of reintroducing emergency legislation to require people with covid-19 to isolate or comply with any other restrictions on freedom.


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