At least 18 inmates and one staff at the Correctional Institution for Women (CIW) in Mandaluyong City have tested positive for the coronavirus, the Bureau of Corrections announced today in a Facebook post.
Some 42 inmates and nine medical personnel in CIW were tested by the Philippine Red Cross after it was discovered that an inmate was infected with COVID-19, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports. The 19 people who tested positive were asymptomatic.
“They are now being monitored and given vitamins, medicines and food supplements to strengthen their immune system,” said CIW Virginia Mangawit.
The CIW has isolated and quarantined those who have been exposed to infected patients and medical staff. It added that they have hired more medical personnel to augment their workforce during this period.
It was early last week when a 72-year-old inmate was diagnosed with pneumonia at CIW’s infirmary, GMA News reports. She was brought to the Santa Ana Hospital in Manila, where she tested positive for the coronavirus.
Prior to this announcement, nine inmates and nine staff members of the Quezon City Jail were discovered to have been infected with COVID-19. The prisoners were taken to an isolation facility in Payatas while the staff were told to quarantine themselves in their respective homes.
Philippine prisons are notorious for being overcrowded, and physical distancing is almost impossible to achieve inside these detention cells. Manila City Jail, for example, can accommodate only 1,100 inmates but has 6,300 prisoners staying inside the facility.