Frontliners in Marikina’s public transport sector are getting tested for COVID-19 before they hit the roads again.
Marikina City mayor Marcelino Teodoro said on May 19 that at least 6,000 tricycle drivers are undergoing mass testing for COVID-19, as the transport workers are going back at work during the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila.
“‘Yung mga driver natin, hindi naman mandatory at ’di rin naman kondisyon para maka-biyahe, sila ay sina-subject natin, as a matter of precaution, sa rapid testing na ginagawa ng Marikina ngayon,” Teodoro said in a Dobol B interview.
Teodoro said tricycle drivers would undergo rapid testing until Friday, May 22, and testing is free. More than 1,000 tricycle drivers were already tested on Monday. Three drivers tested positive for COVID-19 and are subject to confirmatory tests.
“Kahapon 1,084 ang na-test natin. Doon sa 1,084, may tatlong nag-positive at noong nag-positive sila, nag-quarantine agad sila at subject sila ngayon sa confirmatory tests,” he said. “Kung papatunayan na positive sila ngayong araw, eh sisimulan na ’yung medical treatment na kailangang ibigay sa kanila. Kailangan ma-isolate para maiwasan ’yung local transmission,” he added.
Aside from testing, contact tracing will also be done to track other individuals who had direct contact with the COVID-positive tricycle drivers.
On May 16, the mayor signed an order that would permit tricycle and pedicab drivers to resume operations as transport is needed even during MECQ, and the drivers need income.
According to Teodoro, the city’s local government will also test market and grocery workers, and employees from the shoe industry.
Teodoro said that Marikina City would continue to provide assistance to affected workers, especially workers who got infected with the respiratory disease.
While the national government’s social amelioration program (SAP) is of help to affected individuals and households, Teodoro said the city has a local program that extends assistance to Marikina residents.
“Mayroon talaga kaming binibigay sa mga drivers, sa mga manggagawa sa sapatusan at saka sa displaced mall workers. Bago pa man dumating ’yung Social Amelioration Program ng national [government], mayroon na talaga kaming local program,” he said.
Tricycle and pedicab drivers will observe safety guidelines such as practicing social distance and frequently disinfecting. Only one passenger is allowed per tricycle.
Marikina City recorded the slowest COVID-19 transmission rate amongst all the Metro Manila cities. Prior to tricycle drivers, the local government called for employees in the private sector to submit themselves for testing before resuming work operations.
As of May 18, at 3 p.m., there are 149 confirmed cases in Marikina City. A total of 59 have recovered while 20 have died.
NOTE: This story originally appeared on Reportr.world. Minor edits have been made.