This wasn’t the kind of look the government was aiming for when it resumed public transport operations following a months-long hiatus.
In a recent Facebook post, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced that it is ramping up MRT-3 health and disinfection protocols to further protect both passengers and employees from COVID-19. This news comes following reports that the virus is quickly spreading among the train line’s personnel.
“MRT-3 personnel who have contracted the coronavirus have now been admitted in government quarantine facilities in the World Trade Center, Philippine Arena, and PhilSports Arena,” the agency said.
“In addition, MRT-3 personnel who have undergone RT-PCR testing, have also been placed under quarantine pending the release of the test results.”
The DOTr also added that MRT-3 management is conducting contact tracing following the release of test results and placing primary contacts of those who test positive under quarantine. These individuals will be given priority in testing, the agency added.
MRT-3 employees are now also required to wear full personal protective equipment, meaning face masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves. They are also required to submit health declaration forms twice a day, and movement of personnel is limited to their respective areas of responsibility. Non-essential employees are now working from home. Disinfection protocols, meanwhile, have also been heightened.
Yesterday, CNN Philippines reported that 45 more employees of the MRT-3 tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total up to 172 personnel. Of that figure, 39 positive cases are depot personnel while six are station employees.
UPDATE (July 6, 3:50pm): According to a CNN Philippines report, an additional 11 MRT-3 station personnel have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing up the total from six to 17 individuals as of this writing. Eleven are ticket sellers from North Avenue, Kamuning, and Cubao stations, one is a nurse from Taft Avenue Station, three are train operators, and two are control-center personnel.
Hopefully, the DOTr can get the situation under control before things get out of hand. Do you think opening the trains to the public was the right move?