MRT-3 shuts down as 186 workers get COVID
Security officers man the entrance of the MRT-3 depot in Quezon City yesterday.
Michael Varcas
MRT-3 shuts down as 186 workers get COVID
Ghio Ong (The Philippine Star) - July 7, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Metro Rail Transit Line 3 will suspend operations beginning today after 14 more MRT-3 personnel tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019, bringing to 186 the total number of employees infected with COVID-19.

The MRT-3 management said the rail line would be closed probably until Saturday.

“The shutdown may be extended or shortened. A sufficient number of MRT-3 personnel must be cleared of the virus to be able to return to work,” the management said in a statement.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases recommended the closure of the MRT-3.

With fewer trains deployed yesterday and limited passenger capacity, commuters endured long lines, especially at the North Avenue station in Quezon City.

Of the number of COVID-19 cases, 169 are depot personnel and 17 are ticket sellers, train drivers, control center personnel and a nurse, according to Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Libiran.

Libiran said the ticket sellers who contracted the virus were assigned at the Cubao and North Avenue stations.

Out of 1,300 MRT-3 employees who returned to work last month when the rail line resumed operations after quarantine restrictions were eased, 964 have been found negative for the virus.

The management said the closure would allow the swab testing of all MRT-3 personnel, including maintenance workers, to prevent the spread of the virus and ensure the well-being of commuters.

Bus deployment

Passengers affected by the suspension of operations of the MRT-3 may use the EDSA Busway to go to their destinations, according to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago said at least 190 buses would be deployed along EDSA starting today to pick up and drop-off passengers at the bus stops between Monumento and Quezon Avenue, Light Rail Transit Line 1 Balintawak station,  Kaingin Road, LRT-1 Muñoz station, MRT-3 North Avenue and MRT-3 Quezon Avenue stations.

An additional 90 buses to be deployed by the Department of Transportation will be allowed to drop off passengers at the median lane stops, Pialago said. Alexis Romero, Marc Jayson Cayabyab

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