MANILA, Philippines – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has infected a total of 198 personnel of Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) as of Tuesday (July 7), according to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
This prompted the agency to double its contact tracing efforts among its employees to immediately identify and treat possible carriers.
Based on the DOTr’s latest data, a total of 198 MRT-3 personnel were confirmed positive for COVID-19.
The highest number was traced among workers in the MRT-3 Depot which is at 177, followed by 15 ticket sellers, 3 train drivers, 2 control personnel, and one station nurse.
Infected ticket sellers were traced to had been assigned in four stations namely Kamuning, Cubao, Quezon Avenue and North Avenue Stations, according to DOTr.
Those traced in North Avenue and Cubao Stations were assigned to the 1:00 pm to 11:00 pm shift and 4:30 am to 2:30 pm shift.
Those traced in Quezon Avenue station were on the 1:00 pm to 11:00 pm shift; while those traced in Kamuning Station were on duty from 4:30 am to 2:30 pm shift.
Due to the rising number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among its personnel, the DOTr advised all passengers of MRT-3 to observe their health conditions, and, as much as possible, volunteer for 14-day home quarantine.
“Kapag may naramdaman silang kakaiba ay agad agad silang lumapit doon sa mga local city health officers nila para makapag swabbing agad or magawan ng paraan [Once they feel something out of the ordinary, they should immediately go to their respective local city health officers for the swabbing test and address the situation],” advised DOTr Spokesperson Asec. Goddess Hope Libiran.
For now, the DOTr is finalizing the procedures on contact tracing among passengers which the agency plans to execute once the train operations resume.
The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has ordered the temporary suspension in MRT-3 operations this week to facilitate the RT-PCR testing among MRT-3 personnel.
Thus, commuters are left with no choice but to take the augmentation buses and the EDSA Busway Service while train service is not available.
The DOTr is asking bus operators to adjust the deployment of buses to an earlier time to avoid long lines of passengers in stations.
“Pinapakiusapan natin ang contractor ng mga buses na ito na kung pwede mas agahan pa nila yung dispatch system kung kaya nila na magsimula ng 4:30 o 5:00 am, much better [We are asking bus contractors to adjust their dispatch system to an earlier time preferably 4:30 am or 5:00 am, that’s much better],” Libiran said.
The DOTr eyes the resumption of MRT-3 operations on July 11 but it will depend on the results of the ongoing COVID-19 testing among its personnel.
MRT-3 has over 3,200 personnel and a regular train operation under limited manpower will require at least 1,300 employees.
But once around 964 personnel test negative of the virus, train operation may likely to resume, the DOTr said. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)
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