MANILA - The national penitentiary on Thursday reported its first case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) said.
A male inmate from the New Bilibid Prison's medium security compound in Muntinlupa who was hospitalized on April 17 at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), has tested positive for the virus, the bureau said in a Facebook post.
"The patient is still confined at the RITM as of today," it said.
Some 40 prisoners at the crammed penitentiary were placed under isolation while authorities have conducted contact tracing, it added.
Medical staff who attended to the inmate have also been placed under quarantine as they are considered as suspect carriers of the virus.
Other jail facilities have previously reported COVID-19 cases:
- BJMP Quezon City Jail – 9 inmates, 9 staff
- Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong – 19 inmates, 1 staff
- Cebu City Jail - 127 inmates and staff (including 1 inmate dead)
Various groups have urged the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice to release low-risk offenders and those most vulnerable to contracting the virus as they faced the threat of infection in the country's crowded jails.
A petition is currently pending at the high court while the Justice department is studying the suggestion.