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All prison cells still COVID-19-free, Año says

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Friday said all detention cells in the country are still free from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) despite housing a huge number of inmates.

"Sa ngayon, lahat ng ating prison detention cells ay COVID-free. Actually, this is the safest place now..." Año said at a press briefing.

"We will not allow anyone to enter the prison and detention cells, lahat ng bibisita diyan ay ipinagbawal na natin at kung may papasok na inmates diyan, they will undergo mandatory quarantine bago ipasok ng kulungan..." he added.

Both the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) have temporarily suspended jail visits in all their respective prison facilities to prevent the spread of the disease.

According to the BuCor, no inmate in its custody have shown any symptoms of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the BJMP already activated its national task force COVID-19 to step up measures in securing jails and the prisoners against the disease. families of inmates could still see their loved ones who are imprisoned through the BJMP's e-Dalaw.

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

At present, the number of cases in the Philippines stands at 217. — RSJ, GMA News