Drug charge inmate extradited from Thai jail suspected to have coronavirus

12 February 2020, 08:45 | Updated: 4 March 2020, 17:54

Mark Rumble has been named as the man who collapsed in a UK prison with suspected coronavirus
Mark Rumble has been named as the man who collapsed in a UK prison with suspected coronavirus. Picture: Social media

By Kate Buck

A prisoner who was extradited from Thailand has been named as one of three individuals behind a suspected outbreak of coronavirus in a UK prison.

Mark Rumble, 31, was flown back to the UK on 27 January after being charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs, the Thai department of corrections confirmed.

Rumble, who denies all charged against him, is understood to be receiving treatment at a specialist hospital outside of the prison, and the nurse who attended to him in the cell has placed herself under "self-isolation" at home.

But just days after arriving, he is said to have collapsed in his cell in HMP Bullingdon, near Bicester in Oxfordshire.

Other inmates have been confined to their cells, as two other inmates also undergo tests.

A source told The Sun: "The jail’s been in panic mode since the first person collapsed.

Mark Rumble was extradited from Thailand to the UK over drugs charges which he denies
Mark Rumble was extradited from Thailand to the UK over drugs charges which he denies. Picture: Social media

“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.”

So far in Thailand there have been 33 confirmed cases of the virus, and the country was the second after China to declare infections.

Coronavirus - which has officially been named Covid-19 - has so far claimed 1,113 lives in China

A spokesperson for the Thai Ministry of Health said the prisoner had been tested for any illness before being sent to the UK.

They said: "In the case of British inmates receiving a health check before being transferred back to England on January 27, 2020 by performing general physical exams, lung x-rays, phlegm testing for tuberculosis. 

"All normal results Thailand has already coordinated the information on the results of the health examination with England.”

Rumble pictured during his arrest
Rumble pictured during his arrest. Picture: Social media

In China, the National Health Commission said 2,015 new cases had been reported over the last 24 hours, representing a second day of decline.

The total number of cases is around 45,000 globally.

In Japan, 39 more people on a quarantined cruise ship have tested positive for Covid-19, the country's health ministry said.

There are now 169 confirmed cases on the Diamond Princess, quarantined in the port of Yokohama, near Tokyo, among its 3,711 passengers and crew.

The coronavirus has spread to two dozen other countries, having only been identified late last year in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The Diamond Princess has had an outbreak of cases on board
The Diamond Princess has had an outbreak of cases on board. Picture: PA
So far in China, 1113 people have died
So far in China, 1113 people have died. Picture: PA

The fatality toll has passed the 774 people believed to have died of Sars, another viral outbreak that originated in China.

And the total confirmed cases of the new virus vastly exceed the 8,098 sickened by Sars.

There are no licensed drugs or vaccines to treat it, though the World Health Organisation has convened a group of experts to fast-track treatment options to help slow the outbreak.

Experts, however, say it could still be months or even years before any approved treatments are developed.

So far in the UK, eight people have been diagnosed with the illness, including a healthcare worker at Worthing Hospital and a doctor at a GP surgery in Brighton.

Yesterday, a so-called "super-spreader" was named as Scout leader Steve Walsh, who has since fully recovered.

Mr Walsh, 53, from Hove in East Sussex - who is still in quarantine at St Thomas' Hospital in London, picked up coronavirus while at a conference in Singapore.

On his way back to the UK, he stopped off for several days at a French ski chalet, where five Britons were subsequently infected with the virus.

He is also linked to at least five further cases of coronavirus in the UK, including the doctor in Brighton.

As of Tuesday evening, 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 Department of Health said

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