The Cambridgeshire prison, which held celebrity publicist Max Clifford between 2014 and 2017, has become the first prison in the United Kingdom to lose a prisoner to COVID-19. Her Majesty's Prison Littlehey is a category C prison which houses male sex offenders. One of the prison's oldest convicts has succumbed to COVID-19 after being taken to a hospital. The death is being investigated by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.

A prison service spokesperson confirmed the passing of the elderly prisoner on Sunday. They stated that the convict had been taken to a hospital when he fell ill. The COVID-19 victim had underlying health conditions which were not known until after his death. The unnamed sex offender passed away from health complications in the hospital.

The inmate's family was notified of his passing. Deaths of prisoners in custody are investigated by Prisons and Probation Ombudsman. The death of the senior prisoner will also be investigated by the body as per the regulations.

Sources informed The Sun that the 480-convict capacity prison had inmates sharing the prison cells. It remains unknown if any prisoner had been sharing the prison cell with the COVID-19 patient. The prison has also not clarified if there are any more prisoners or prison workers infected by the novel coronavirus.

On Wednesday, it was revealed that across England and Wales, 19 inmates have tested positive for the virus in 10 different prisons. In four locations, four prison workers have also been tested positive. Three prison escorts, who help with jail and court transfers, are in isolation after testing positive. However, the death at HMP Littlehey is the first and only prison casualty claimed by COVID-19 so far.

The Metro pointed out that the prison service is prepared to tackle cases of the viral infection. Management plans have been put in place after consultation with Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care. According to the prison service, prisons are prepared to take action if inmates are diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. Arrangements have been made to safely isolate inmates infected by the virus if required.

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A health worker carries a body on a stretcher. Photo: AFP / OSCAR DEL POZO