Inmates at a high-security prison in Australia smashed the windows and flooded the cells with water, authorities stated on Tuesday following a lockdown sparked by a coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak resulted in a shortage of the staff and also services.

The unrest started a day before at the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre in the city if Brisbane, four days after the local media mentioned that the prison went into lockdown due to two staff testing positive to coronavirus.

Inmates Create Chaos at Prison

Jail
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A shortage of replacement staff for those stood down to get tested for the virus had resulted in problems delivering basic services like meals and medication, the authorities said. "There's been some unrest (including) small amounts of fire that were lit, that were localized and easily extinguished," Corrections Commissioner Peter Martin told reporters.

"In some cases, prisoners flooded their cells with water (and) there was the damage of some glass and also some CCTV." Some 400 of the prison's 530 staff had been stood down to get tested, along with 170 prisoners, and replacement staff had faced challenges since "every prisoner is different, the technology is different and the processes are different", Martin said.

Australia has so far avoided the high COVID-19 casualty numbers of other countries, with a total of 657 deaths linked to the illness, after closures of national and internal borders put curbs on movement. The country has used location-specific lockdowns to control outbreaks. Since the prison guards tested positive last week, Australia's third-most populous state, Queensland, has put about 7,000 inmates into lockdown, prompting concerns from advocates about the limited access to lawyers and essential support.

(With agency inputs)