Metro Manila jail visits suspended indefinitely amid coronavirus outbreak

MANILA, Philippines – In a bid to prevent a massive novel coronavirus infection among inmates, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) suspended visits to its jails starting on Wednesday, March 11, at 12 pm.

The suspension covers a total of 42 jails in the National Capital Region housing thousands of inmates. BJMP spokesman Chief Inspector Xavier Solda said it remained to last indefinitely, but the BJMP may decide on new measures “in the next two weeks.”

The exceptions: Service providers of the jails are exempted from the ban.

These include food providers, teachers and class instructors, and volunteer lawyers who already follow their own visitation schedule apart from the families and friends of inmates.

Why this matters: The novel coronavirus is spreading quick in Metro Manila. As of March 11, the Philippines has recorded a total of 33 cases. Worldwide, the death toll has exceeded 3,800, while more than 109,000 people have been infected in over 100 countries.

The virus is transmitted through droplets from the nose and mouth. How fast it spreads is still being studied by scientists across the globe. –

Rambo Talabong

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.