Coronavirus riots: At least 23 dead after Colombian prisoners attempt escape
Colombia’s Justice Minister Margarita Capello said 83 inmates were injured during the riot at La Modelo prison. The escape attempt came on Sunday and follows prisoners across the country protesting overcrowding in prisons across the country.
Poor health services during the increasing coronavirus outbreak were also cited as a point of protest.
The justice minister is currently investigating the riot, according to the BBC.
Ms Capello said 32 prisoners and seven guards were currently in hospital.
Two guards are thought to be in a critical condition.
She said the violence witnessed was part of a larger coordinated plan.
She added that 13 riots across the country’s prisons were reported at similar times.
Denying claims of unsanitary conditions amid fears of a coronavirus breakout, she said: “There is not any sanitary problem that would have caused this plan and these riots.
“There is not one infection nor any prisoner or custodial or administrative staffer who has coronavirus.”
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There were several witnesses at the scene, including relatives who had gathered outside the prison to await the news regarding their loved ones.
They said they heard shots being fired after the security forces arrived.
Currently, the country’s 132 prisons have an 81,000-inmate capacity but house more than 121,000 prisoners.
South America is the most recent continent to be hit by coronavirus.
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So far, in Colombia, there have been 231 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Two people there have died.
On Tuesday, the country is expected to begin a nationwide quarantine.
It is set to last 19 days.
Residents’ movements will be restricted, with the exception of medical staff, security forces, and pharmacy and supermarket staff.
Those over the age of 70 have been told to stay indoors until the end of May.
In North America, New York City’s mayor has warned that the city is just ten days away from being dangerously short on key medical supplies.
New York state has become the epicentre of the outbreak in the US and accounts for almost half of the country’s cases.
Nationwide, there are now 31,057 confirmed cases, with 390 deaths.
New York now accounts for roughly five percent of COVID-19 cases worldwide, with 15,168 having tested positive for the virus.
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