Bishop of Gloucester asks about testing for Covid-19 in prisons

On 14th May 2020 Baroness Humphreys asked the Government “what steps they are taking to alleviate overcrowding in prisons in England and Wales, particularly in HMP Swansea.” The Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, the World Health Organization has been clear that testing will be a key part of tackling coronavirus. We just heard some of those stats, but could the Government please give us the number of prisoners who have been tested to date, and give an assurance that testing will always be in place before moving people between prisons?

Lord Keen of Elie: My Lords, Gold Command has taken control of the movement of prisoners, which is extremely limited between prisons. Where it happens, that cohort is dealt with in the same way as new prisoners, so they are isolated for a period to see whether they become symptomatic. On testing, prison officers and attendant staff are key workers in the present circumstances. We have referred something like 3,000 prison officers and staff for testing. For prisoners, some who have become symptomatic may be subject to testing in prison, but otherwise there is no testing.


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