One dead as Italian prisons revolt over coronavirus outbreak measures

An ambulance drives past a police check-point near the town of Castiglione d’Adda, southeast of Milan, on February 24, 2020. (AFP)

Inmates in four Italian prisons have revolted over new rules introduced to contain the coronavirus outbreak, leaving one prisoner dead and others injured, a prison rights group said on Sunday.

Prisoners at jails in Naples Poggioreale in the south, Modena in the north, Frosinone in central Italy and at Alexandria in the northwest had all revolted over measures including a ban on family visits.

Rights group Antigone said an inmate had died at the Modena jail, though the circumstances were not yet clear.

“We had already warned tensions were growing in prisons, and that we feared it could end in tragedy,” it said in a statement following the revolts.

“All necessary measures must be taken to ensure prisoners their full rights, stopping this escalation of tension and preventing others from dying. One death is already too much,” it said.

At Modena, near Bologna, two prison officers were injured and around 20 staff members had to leave the prison.

At Frosinone, south of Rome, police were called in to restore order after about 100 prisoners barricaded themselves into a section of the prison.

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The protesting inmates drew up a list of demands, including the right to have visits from their loved ones, and tried to negotiate with the prison management, the Agi news agency reported.

Families of some of the inmates at Poggioreale, a suburb of Naples, gathered outside the prison to support them.

The number of fatalities shot up by 133 to 366 on Sunday, while the number of infections rose by a single-day record of 1,492 to hit 7,375, its civil protection agency said.

The contagion came to light over two weeks ago and is focused on a handful of hotspots in the north of Italy, but cases have now been confirmed in each of the country’s 20 regions, with deaths recorded in eight of them.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 14:06 - GMT 11:06
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