DOJ: Bilibid, Correctional virus-free since July 1 | Inquirer News
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DOJ: Bilibid, Correctional virus-free since July 1

No new cases reported in last 14 days, with only 2 still in quarantine
By: - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQ
05:08 AM July 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Almost a month after its last update on the number of coronavirus-infected inmates in the seven penal farms and colonies under its jurisdiction, the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) announced that there have been zero cases for the past two weeks.

In a statement on Tuesday night, Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said that no new COVID-19 cases have been reported since July 1 in any of the seven BuCor-managed facilities, including the highly-congested New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City and Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong.

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The two prisons accounted for the bulk of the coronavirus cases recorded by BuCor last month, with the first confirmed cases reported in April.

343 total cases

As of Tuesday, Perete said a total of 343 inmates and BuCor personnel had tested positive for COVID-19, with 18 deaths and 323 recoveries. Of the total cases, only two — an inmate and a BuCor employee  — remain in quarantine. All of the fatalities were inmates, 15 from the NBP and 3 from the CIW.

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Based on the BuCor’s last update on June 17, there were 301 confirmed cases, 223 of these NBP and CIW inmates. The 42 additional cases were apparently reported between June 18 and 30 since according to Perete, no new infections have broken out since July 1.

The Inquirer tried but failed to reach BuCor spokesperson Gabriel Chaclag for confirmation and follow-up questions, particularly how the agency managed to control the spread of the contagious disease inside its congested facilities.

Only one other BuCor facility, the Sablayan Penal Farm and Colony in Occidental Mindoro province, has recorded a COVID-19 case. The 34-year-old female corrections officer, however, was reported to have recovered on June 22.

The other prisons—Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Palawan, San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm in Zamboanga City, Davao Prison and Penal Farm, and Leyte Regional Prison—have not reported any case.

Still no visitors

Perete said that despite the apparent success of BuCor in eradicating COVID-19, visitation privileges for inmates remain suspended “until further notice.” However, they would be allowed to talk to their families online through the electronic “dalaw” (e-dalaw) program.Last week, BuCor released 79 inmates found eligible for the simplified guidelines for parole after they tested negative for the coronavirus.

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, NBP, NCW, prison COVID-19 cases
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