Hundreds of inmates have escaped from at least four semi-open prisons in Brazil following some restrictions imposed in fear of coronavirus outbreak.

The incident happened late Monday in the Southeastern state of Sao Paulo after the state officials canceled temporary leaves of prisoners over fears that they might contract the virus and spread the disease to the rest of the inmates, according to local daily G1.

Also, restrictions tightened for visitors amid coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

“The measure was necessary because the benefit would include more than 34,000 convicts of the semi-open regime who, returning to prison, would have

Read more: Inmates escape Brazil jails over COVID-19 restrictions