Prison riots break out over Italy's coronavirus shutdown

As the spread of coronavirus grips northern Italy, prison riots have erupted leaving six inmates dead, and two guards taken hostage.

Riots have hit prisons across Italy as a result of quarantine measures for the coronavirus.

At least six inmates have died.

On Sunday (March 8) the government, as part of wider and sweeping quarantine measures, declared restrictions on family visitations: no direct contact with visitors, only phone and remote methods.

That's what sparked the rioting. Amidst the chaos, two guards were taken hostage and released after police raids. The justice ministry said fires had been set at a number of prisons causing severe damage.

At least 25 prisons have seen violence.

Of the six inmate deaths, two were caused by an overdose of stolen drugs from the prison infirmaries. The causes of the other four remain unclear.

Hundreds have died from the virus in Italy, with wide parts of the country on virtual lockdown.