ASTONISHING photos show prisoners in one of the world's most dangerous countries being forced together during a jailhouse lockdown – despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Images from inside Izalco jail in El Salvador show inmates pictured packed tightly together.
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It comes after President Nayib Bukele ordered a 24-hour lockdown of all prisons holding gang members.
The official said all gang leaders will go into solitary confinement after a sudden spike in prison murders in the country.
There were 22 killings on Friday alone.
President Bukele wrote on Twitter: "No contact with the outside world. Shops will remain closed and all activities are suspended until further notice.
"Gang leaders will go into solitary confinement."
The president said the "maximum emergency" lockdown will be enforced while police investigate the surge in murders.
It's the highest total in a single day since President Bukele took office last June.
El Salvador is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, and once had the highest murder rate in the Americas.
More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in recent years due to the menace of the nation's street gangs.
In 2015, the government authorised the police to shoot 'without any fear of suffering consequences' if threatened by gang members.
It followed increasing violence after an earlier truce between gangs Barrio 18 – also known as 18th Street Gang – and MS-13.
But under Bukele's presidency, murders have reportedly fallen significantly.
The president ordered the country into lockdown on March 22.
Anyone who breaks the laws can be sent to prison.
There have been 298 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the country since the pandemic began, and eight deaths.
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