MAASIN CITY (PIA) -- Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country in March 2020, jail facilities nationwide have been on a lockdown mode, where physical visits of families, relatives of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) were not allowed.

With the decreasing trend and the implementation of alert level systems, there is hope face-to-face encounter can be back, but still following minimum health protocols, Jail Sr. Insp. Salvador Rotairo, city jail warden, reported.

“Alert level 1 will ease jail lockdown,” Rotairo said at the Kapihan sa PIA forum Wednesday, adding that one person per family from the outside may be allowed to visit for a limited time.

This week, President Duterte okayed the nationwide rollout of the alert levels following its pilot implementation in the national capital region, to replace the quarantine classifications.

Phase 2 of the said rollout included Region 8, which may take effect this month, but it was not yet known which of the five alert levels the region will be in, with alert level 5 comparable to enhanced community quarantine.

Manila and the rest of the NCR are now under Alert Level 2, down from the previous status at Alert Level 4 when the new system was introduced early last month.

Under alert level 1, COVID-19 transmission in the area is low and decreasing, while the total bed utilization rate, and intensive care unit utilization rate, are also low, it was learned.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) celebrated the annual National Correctional Consciousness Week in the last week of October, with this year’s theme, “Magtulungan, Magdamayan, COVID-19 ay labanan.”

So far, only two inmates got COVID-19, in April this year, and they had recovered then and have been transferred to a Leyte prison facility, Rotairo shared.

There are 73 PDLs, with one female, all of them their first dose of Pfizer, he added. (NBQ//PIA 8-Southern Leyte)