Amid 92 workers positive for COVID-19, MRT-3 to continue regular operations
( - July 2, 2020 - 11:03am

MANILA, Philippines — The Metro Rail Transit Line 3 will continue regular operations on Thursday even if 92 of its depot workers tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 

MRT-3 Director for Operations Michael Capati told Inquirer that 89 of the infected workers are employed by MRT-3's maintenance service provider Sumitomo-MHI-TESP, while the other three are railway personnel.

He added that all of the infected workers were assigned to the railway's depot in Quezon City "and do not engage face-to-face with operations people."

All 92 employees are being quarantined for 14 days, according to the operations director. He also confirmed that they were tested using the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests which are considered the gold standard in testing for COVID-19.

“Tespi will review their capacity and will [advise] MRT-3 for any reduced capacity by next week. All personnel are required to wear [personal protective equipment], both depot and station personnel [at the] MRT-3 line,” Capati told Inquirer.

Last June 18, only 15 MRT-3 workers were reported to have contracted the disease. This means that infections shot up to around six times as many railway personnel in the span of two weeks.

On June 20, The STAR reported that 766 MRT-3 employees were cleared of COVID-19 after undergoing rapid antibody tests.

Capati has repeatedly assured that they are taking the necessary steps to maintain minimum health standards in the facility.

“The health and safety of our employees and passengers are primordial to us. All employees will be required to undergo testing. We have been conducting disinfection in the depot, at stations, and in trains. We will continue to implement these and other measures to contain the spread of the virus in our workplace, stations, and trains,” he said on June 18.

This comes as general community quarantine is extended to July 15 in the National Capital Region. The first few weeks of Metro Manila's GCQ saw much of the same traffic problems that plagued commuters pre-COVID come back with a vengeance in the absence of a number of modes of transportation.

As it stands, the Health department has logged 38,511 cases of COVID-19 and a death toll of 1,270 in the Philippines. — Bella Perez-Rubio with reports from Franco Luna

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