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Woman becomes first confirmed Covid-19 case in Irish prison system

It is understood the woman has been in quarantine since her incarceration.

Image: Shutterstock/MikeDotta

A FEMALE INMATE has become the first prisoner in Ireland to be diagnosed with Covid-19.

It is understood the woman, who is in the Dochas Centre, has been in quarantine since her incarceration. 

It is also understood that the woman has only come into contact with staff members, who wear personal protective equipment, since entering the prison. 

At present, all new prisoners who enter prisons must quarantine for a 14-day period. These prisoners are tested for Covid-19 on their sixth day in the prison and are permitted to end their quarantine if they test negative, it is understood.

The HSE said it cannot comment on individual cases or outbreaks of Covid-19.

On Monday, it was reported that the Irish Prison Service is pushing on with plans for a loosening of visiting restrictions.

Prisoners are now able to receive one family visit every two weeks, which can be attended by one adult and one child.  

The first phase of the easing of visiting restrictions – introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic – saw one adult visitor allowed into the prison from 20 July. 

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All visiting was stopped at the start of the crisis, over fears of a significant outbreak of the virus among the prison population – many of whom would be deemed vulnerable. 

Due to localised restrictions in Kildare, Laois and Offaly, the relaxed visiting restrictions were not applied to Portlaoise Prison and the Midlands Prison. 

The Irish Prison Service has previously been hailed for keeping the virus out of prisons, with its efforts cited by the World Health Organization.  

 With reporting by Dominic McGrath

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