South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has said the recent rise in prison Covid cases is ‘very concerning’.

As of Friday, the Scottish Prison Service had recorded 364 cases across Scotland’s prisons, with 247 of those positive cases in HMP Kilmarnock and 25 at HMP Dumfries.

Colin Smyth said: “At a time when reducing Covid-19 transmission is more important than ever, this surge in infections is very concerning not only for the prison estate, but for south Scotland as a whole.

“Scottish Labour has called for regular asymptomatic testing in prisons since the start of the pandemic, but progress has been too slow.

“We know this virus spreads quickly in institutional settings.

“The overcrowding in Scotland’s prisons greatly increases the risk of a large outbreak, which can subsequently spread into communities.

“Once again, we are seeing the consequences of the Government’s failure to get a grip on the longstanding problems of Scotland’s prisons – not just for prisoners and staff, but for the whole of society.”

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