Guards opened fire on Sunday to contain a prison riot near Sri Lanka's capital where an inmate was killed and three wounded while protesting a surge of coronavirus infections, police said.
Spokesman Ajith Rohana said elite police commandos were deployed at the Mahara prison where inmates rioted against overcrowded conditions and demanded their early release.
He said teams of Special Task Force personnel have been sent to bolster security at the prison.
Sunday's clashes were the culmination of weeks of unrest in several prisons across the country as the number of Covid-19 cases within Sri Lankan jails exceeded 1 000 by Saturday. Two inmates have died of the virus.
Last week, a prisoner was killed when he fell off while trying to scale the walls of a prison in the central Bogambara region during unrest inside the jail.
The number of Covid-19 deaths across the country have also increased six-fold this month to 109 while the total infections more than doubled to 23 311. Sri Lanka had reported 19 deaths out of 10 424 people infected at the end of October.