BuCor records first virus case
The inmate was diagnosed at the CIW infirmary with community-acquired pneumonia on Monday and admitted to Sta. Ana Hospital on the same day.

BuCor records first virus case

Edu Punay, Mayen Jaymalin, Ralph Edwin Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - April 19, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Corrections yesterday recorded its first coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) case, a 72-year-old inmate at the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW).

The patient is currently confined at the Sta. Ana Hospital, according to CIW Supt. Virginia Mangawit.

The inmate was diagnosed at the CIW infirmary with community-acquired pneumonia on Monday and admitted to Sta. Ana Hospital on the same day.

Days later, she tested positive for COVID-19, Mangawit said.

BuCor spokesman Gabriel Chaclag said the patient may have contracted the virus from two hospitals that rejected her before she was confined at the Sta. Ana Hospital.

The bureau is still investigating and conducting contact tracing, he added.

Chaclag also said that 50 asymptomatic inmates at the CIW were tested yesterday since they only had 50 test kits.

There are still no COVID-19 cases in the BuCor’s six other penal colonies. On Friday, Chaclag said the BuCor has “enough and effective safeguards” in place.

Meanwhile, Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles led the legal aid group Lakbay Hustisya in implementing the “e-dalaw” (electronic visit) project in lieu of physical visits to detainees, which are prohibited due to the enhanced community quarantine.

Through the group that he founded, Nograles recently donated 25 sets of computers to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology for distribution to different jails around Metro Manila. 

 Nograles, vice chair of House justice committee, said the system would also enable the inmates to connect with their lawyers through online consultations via Skype and other technologies.

Nograles also reiterated the call of their committee to temporarily release prisoners who are vulnerable to contracting the novel coronavirus, particularly the elderly, those with underlying health conditions, and low-level, non-violent, and first-time offenders.

The appeal came after nine inmates and nine personnel at the Quezon City Jail tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the World Prison Brief of the London-based Institute for Crime and Justice Policy Research, the Philippines has the most congested prison system in the world, at a rate of 463.6 percent.

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