A prison in China’s eastern Shandong province has reported a large outbreak of the novel coronavirus that has killed more than 2,000 people across the country, according to local officials.
Health, prison and government officials announced at a joint news conference on Friday that 2,077 staff and prisoners at Rencheng prison had been tested for the coronavirus, with seven staff and 200 prisoners testing positive.
Xi Yan, director of Shandong's provincial health commission said “the cases of seven police officers were included in previous daily updates of confirmed cases in Jining city".
As of February 20, there were 545 confirmed cases and four deaths in Shandong province.
How the virus spread: Authorities said the outbreak started with two of the prison's police officers. On February 12, an on-duty officer was admitted to hospital for coughing, and tested positive for the coronavirus the next day. On February 13, another police officer at the prison also tested positive, leading authorities to lock down the area.
A handful of officials have been dismissed over the incident, including Shandong's Justice Department chief and its senior prison authority officials.
At Shilifeng prison in Zhejiang province, 34 prisoners have tested positive for novel coronavirus, and the prison warden was dismissed, according to the Zheijiang government.