The Department of Transportation (DOTr) today said that at least 202 of MRT-3’s train personnel have tested positive for the coronavirus, just as train operations have been shut since yesterday to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The train closure will run for five days until July 11.
Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Libiran told reporters in a message that 16 of the infected employees work at the station, while an overwhelming 181 work at the depot, three are train drivers, and two are control center personnel.
Of MRT-3’s 3,299 personnel, Libiran said only 339 workers are waiting for their swab tests which are scheduled to be completed today. Libiran and the management did not say if they are undertaking contact tracing among passengers.
In its statement yesterday MRT-3’s management said that the station personnel include at least one nurse and several ticket sellers stationed at North Avenue, GMA-Kamuning, and Cubao, while a depot personnel worked at Quezon Avenue.
The management advised passengers who passed through the station to home quarantine, and identified the working shifts of the infected ticket sellers and depot personnel as follows:
North Avenue – 1:00PM to 11:00PM and 4:30AM to 2:30PM.
Quezon Avenue – 1:00PM to 11:00PM.
GMA-Kamuning – 4:30AM to 2:30PM.
Cubao – 1:00PM to 11:00PM and 4:30AM to 2:30PM.
In a separate statement yesterday, DOTR said that the temporary five-day shutdown is meant to give way to swab tests of all MRT-3 personnel, including its maintenance provider and subcontractors, “to prevent further spread of the disease” among personnel and commuters.
The agency said that the trains’ closure might be extended depending on the number of staff who get a negative result on their tests, but added that trains may also be dispatched in limited numbers as soon as employees are pronounced fit to work.
“This means that the period of the shutdown may be shortened or extended, depending on the pace and results of RT-PCR testing. This also means that operations will resume even if the number of available personnel can only operate a limited number of train sets at the beginning,” the DOTr said.
“Personnel that test positive will be directed to the appropriate government quarantine facility, while those who are confirmed negative will form part of the pool that will operate the system upon resumption of operations,” it added.
To make up for the train shutdown, some 90 buses will continue to dispatch along EDSA. An additional 150 buses will be deployed carrying passengers Monumento and the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITx). Mini-buses will also run short loops between Timog Avenue in Quezon City and Ortigas in Pasig.
Before its complete shutdown, the MRT-3 deployed fewer trains to address the mounting coronavirus cases among its personnel. The decades-old train line services the metro’s nearly 13 million population. Operations were suspended nearly three months after the capital went on lockdown mid-March.
While the trains are temporarily shut, all MRT-3 facilities will be disinfected, including its depot, stations, and trains.
This article, MRT-3 infected staff rises to 202, trains to remain shut for five days, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!