WINCHESTER Prison are taking precautionary measures following a Covid outbreak.

This comes as Covid cases in the Winchester district have seen an increase for the first time since the end of October.

Figures show that 499 people tested positive for Covid in the seven days to November 17, which is up 23 or five per cent from the previous week, the fourth consecutive day the week on week numbers had risen.

On Twitter, the prison announced: "HMP Winchester is now in COVID outbreak. Sadly we have to cancel all face to face social visits for the main jail (Westhill and Hearn are currently unaffected) for a minimum of 28 days.

"We apologise and encourage the use of video calls. The situation will be continually reviewed."

Staff and health care workers at HMP Winchester have been required to wear additional protective equipment on the wings.

The situation and testing will continue to be reviewed. The track and trace system is also still being used to contact anyone who has come into contact with inmates affected.

A Prison Service spokesperson said: “Our priority is to limit the spread of the virus and protect the lives of those who live and work in our prisons.

“We have taken precautionary measures at HMP Winchester in line with public health guidance, and will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

If a prisoner tests positive during routine testing, they have to self-isolate in line with public health advice. No prisoner who has tested positive would be subsequently placed in a shared cell.