Over 18,000 prisoners have been released over the past two months in the Philippines, the island nation’s top court said on Monday.

The Supreme Court of the Philippines in a statement said 18,355 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs), or prisoners, were released between March 17 and May 15, 2020.

The court held 795 videoconferencing hearings of cases of PDLs from May 4-15, 2020, it added.

There have been reports of deaths allegedly due to COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, among prisoners. However, the Bureau of Corrections, which manages prisons, has offered no explanation so far.

According to the Philippines health department, 205 new infections were detected today, taking the national tally of confirmed virus cases to 12,718.

The death toll has risen to 831 after seven more patients succumbed to the virus. Some 2,729 patients, meanwhile, have recovered from the illness and released from medical facilities thus far.

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