DOTr : MRT-3 operations may be halted anew if Covid-19 detected among station staff
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Thursday it might consider suspending the operations of Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) again if station personnel contract Covid-19.
But DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan assured that for now, there is no active case of Covid-19 among MRT-3 station personnel, and only workers from the rail line’s depot in Quezon City and its maintenance service provider Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.
“Makakaasa ang ating mga mananakay na kapag nakakita tayo ng mga kaso at pag-akyat ng kaso ng Covid-19, halimbawa sa ating stations tulad ng nangyari noong isang taon, ay titingnan natin ang posibilidad na tayo ay magsuspend ng operations,” he said in an online press briefing.
(Our commuters can be assured that if we detect Covid-19 cases in MRT-3 stations like what happened last year, we will consider the possibility of suspending train operations.)
In July last year, MRT-3 temporarily stopped operations after nearly 300 employees, most of whom were from the depot, tested positive for the new coronavirus.
“Pero at this time ay ayon sa pinaka-latest na datos ay naka-confine pa sa ating MRT-3 depot office ‘yung ating Covid-19 cases kaya kasalukuyang nagpapatupad ng tinatawag na enhanced access control,” said Batan, referring to depot workers’ limited access to the facility following the outbreak.
(But as of this time, the latest data shows that cases are confined at the MRT-3 depot office that’s why we are implementing enhanced access control.)
Thus, at present, DOTr is not considering the suspension of the rail line’s operations.
“We are not eyeing suspension of operations at this time. Nakadepende ‘yan sa kung merong reported cases at gaano kadami ang reported cases sa personnel natin galing sa stations,” he added.
(We are not eyeing suspension of operations at this time. It will depend on the reported cases of Covid-19 from the stations.)
According to Batan, the positive test result of the first Covid-19 patient among depot personnel this year was released on January 15. He said contact tracing was immediately conducted.
For this year, a total of 36 MRT-3 depot staff, including one who later succumbed to the disease, and six workers from the Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, have so far tested positive for the virus, the DOTr earlier said.
Batan said SARS-CoV-2 might have spread easily in the depot facility because of the large number of employees there. He also said MRT-3 has around 300 depot personnel and around 1,500 maintenance personnel.
Further, the DOTr official said a project to improve the ventilation on the underground depot facility near the North Avenue station – given the number of its employees – is ongoing.
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