A prisoner who sparked a coronavirus scare in a UK jail is an alleged drugs kingpin recently extradited from Thailand.
Mark Rumble was reportedly arrested riding a Harley Davidson motorbike in Pattaya, Thailand, in November – before being brought back to the UK when he was charged with supplying Class A drugs to tourists. He is understood to deny the allegations.
The 31-year-old caused mass panic in high security prison HMP Bullingdon after collapsing in his cell within days of arriving, reports The Sun.
According to the newspaper, a source has said an entire wing was last night in lockdown and inmates are being forced to remain in their cells, with three convicts being tested.
Bosses at the category B facility in Oxfordshire are still awaiting Rumble and another man’s results, expected sometime today.
The source said: “The jail’s been in panic mode since the first person collapsed.
“Several hundred prisoners on C-wing are in lockdown and unable to leave their cells. A prison is just about the worst place for any outbreak because everyone is in such close quarters.”
The Thai Department of Corrections confirmed Rumble’s identity on Wednesday morning, but said he had no symptoms and passed a medical check prior to his extradition.
Thailand, meanwhile, has had 33 confirmed cases of the deadly virus, second only to China where it originated in December – declaring its first case on January 13, two weeks before Rumble returned.
The alleged dealer was photographed in Thailand with British boxing champion Ricky Hatton. There is no suggestion he is involved in the allegations.
Rumble is said to be being treated at a “special hospital” outside of the prison, according to the source.
“The two other prisoners were displaying flu-like symptoms and are in Bullingdon’s hospital wing,” the source continued, adding that all three convicts were in single cells before falling ill.
While a Bullingdon nurse who tended to Rumble has been sent into “self-isolation” at home and Public Health England officials were supposedly seen at the prison.
The officials were allegedly helping the more than 1,000 inmates and giving advice to staff as medics in hazmat suits were seen entering the locked down wing.
Rumble, of Wallingford, Oxfordshire, is due to enter a plea at Oxford Crown Court on February 20, and is understood to deny the charges.
According to the Department of Health yesterday afternoon a total of 1,358 people have been tested for coronavirus in the UK, of which 1,350 were confirmed negative and eight positive.
The scare at the prison comes as a second primary school told they can stay away to prevent the virus from spreading, although both schools remain open.
Cottesmore St Mary’s Catholic Primary School and Bevendean Primary School, both in Brighton and Hove have contacted parents.
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It follows the news yesterday that St Mary’s Independent School, in Southampton, Hampshire, asked pupils not to attend for three days while a deep clean took place.
And a Chinese-owned private school in Ipswich, Suffolk, has put a ban on any new arrivals until the outbreak of Coronavirus is contained.
Britain is facing a major coronavirus outbreak, with Brighton at the centre thanks to 53-year-old businessman and scout leader Steve Walsh, who infected at least 11 people after contracting it in Singapore and then holidaying in the French Alps.