52 more high-profile inmates in Bilibid test positive for COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — Fifty-two more high-profile inmates detained at New Bilibid Prison’s (NBP) Building 14 have been moved to Site Harry, a quarantine facility inside the prison complex that houses inmates or persons deprived of liberty infected of COVID-19.
Building 14 is the most highly secured facility within the Bilibid’s Maximum Security Compound. Its gate is not accessible via the heavily guarded main entrance of the national penitentiary. It has 29 cells measuring 8 square meters each. The building is equipped with CCTV cameras, signal jammers, and own sets of guards.
It houses high-profile inmates, most of which are convicted drug dealers.
Site Harry, on the other hand, is the quarantine facility set up by the BuCor with the assistance of the Department of Health and the International Committee of the Red Cross inside the national penitentiary to serve as an isolation site for inmates and jail personnel who tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Lahat sila rapid test-positive at yung iba may mild flu symptoms (All of them are rapid test-positive while others have mild flu symptoms),” BuCor spokesman Gabriel Chaclag said.
Chaclag said the inmates were also subjected to swab tests to confirm the presence of the virus.
“Isolated muna sila at na-swab na rin natin. Awaiting the swab test results na lang,” he added.
Record from the NBP Hospital showed that rapid testing was conducted at the Maximum Security Compound last Oct. 13 of which out of 198 PDLs, 36 have tested positive.
The inmates were brought to Site Harry and have undergone RT-PCR testing or swab test. Swabbing result showed that all the inmates tested negative and were brought back to the Maximum Security Compound.
Then, on October 25, 124 PDLs at Building 14 were subjected to rapid testing.
Of the 124 inmates, 52 have tested positive and were brought to Site Harry. Last Nov. 3, the inmates underwent RT-PCR tests and they are now awaiting results.
Earlier, the BuCor confirmed that nine high-profile inmates have succumbed to COVID-19, including Jaybee Sebastian.
Sebastian, who was convicted in 2009 testified in the 2016 hearings of the House of Representatives on the alleged involvement of detained opposition senator Leila de Lima in the illegal drugs trade inside the NBP when she was still the Justice Secretary. De Lima has denied the accusations.
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