MANILA, Philippines – A female paralegal working at the Quezon City Jail Male Dormitory has tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
This was disclosed by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) on Monday, March 30, establishing the first confirmed case of the coronavirus among their personnel.
The BJMP stressed that the paralegal has not been to the Quezon City Jail since the jail's lockdown on March 21, as her job consists mainly of monitoring the progress of the cases of the jail's inmates in court.
The paralegal was also allowed to work from home because she had asthma, hypertension, and diabetes.
Still, all the personnel the patient last interacted with self-quarantined to prevent the risk of a mass infection inside the jail.
The jail was built for 800, but as of 2016, it housed more than 3,800 inmates, making it difficult, if not impossible, to implement physical distancing measures that can prevent the spread of diseases like COVID-19.
Detention facilities hold the potential to become hotbeds of the virus. In New York in the United States, hundreds of inmates were quarantined in different jails after over a hundred detainees and over a hundred jail staffers tested positive for the virus.
"We assure the public that we are doing our best, doubling our efforts in implementing all of our precautionary measures to protect our facilities from the virus," the BJMP said.
Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.