BJMP: Male detainee may have died from new coronavirus

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 10 2020 02:21 AM

Inmates lie to sleep at the crowded courtyard of the jail in Quezon City on Friday. The United Nations recently sounded the alarm on packed detention centers being vulnerable to the new coronavirus because of challenges in physical distancing and self isolation, and urged governments to to something about the situation. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A male detainee in Metro Manila may have died last week from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology said Thursday.

In a statement, BJMP spokesperson Jail Chief Insp. Xavier Solda said that while the detainee died from a heart ailment and hypertension, his death certificate also indicated that "other conditions contributing to his death is possible COVID-19 infection."

“Taking the attending physician’s point of view, citing possible COVID 19 as contributing condition is a piece of information that we cannot take lightly," Solda said.

"Our position is always at the side of caution; that is why we triple our efforts in establishing an isolation center outside the jail facility," he added.

In response to the incident, the BJMP conducted contact tracing and found out that 17 detainees need to be isolated for a more focused medical care.

Solda said the BJMP's COVID-19 isolation center, located in Quezon City, has already been completed, with the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Philippine Red Cross.

The isolation center, which has a 48-bed capacity, will serve all jails in Metro Manila.

The facility consists of 4 tents set up with electricity, water, sanitation, as well as with basic medical equipment.

All medical personnel who will be operating the said facility have also completed ICRC training on handling infectious diseases.

According to the BJMP statement, Chief Jail Director Allan Iral has called for strict implementation of precautionary measures in jails such as physical distancing, wearing of face masks and disinfection procedures.