More than 180 Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) personnel, including 11 ticket sellers at several stations, tested positive for COVID-19, prompting its administration to suspend operations starting today.
According to Undersecretary Timothy John Batan, MRT3 would stop operations from Tuesday, July 7, until July 11, for the rest of the staff to undergo the COVID-19 test.
“Gagawin po natin ‘yan dahil sa gusto po natin matapos ‘yung tinatawag natin na swab testing o RT-PCR testing ng lahat ng ating tauhan, lahat ng ating MRT3 personnel,” said the official.
(We will do that because we want to do what we call swab testing or RT-PCR testing of all our staff, all our MRT3 personnel.)
Batan said the suspension of the operation could be shortened depending on the speed of the employees’ swab test.
Earlier, the DOTr said that 186 MRT3 staff had been infected, and another 1,507 staff had to be tested.
According to Batan, MRT3 has a total of 3,200 staff, and 1,300 personnel are needed to continue the operation of the mass transport system.
“Ngayon kailangan pa natin ng 964 na confirmed na negative bago tayo makapag-resume. So ‘pag naabot natin ‘yang 960 na additional na confirmed negative, puwede tayong magresume ng operations,” the official explained.
(Now we need 964 with confirmed negative test result before we can resume. So if we reach 960 additional confirmed negatives, we can resume operations.)
Although some MRT3 employees tested positive of the virus before, it continued its operations since the infected are deployed in the train’s depot and had no contact with passengers.
But recently, Batan said, some MRT personnel assigned to several stations were also infected with the virus.
“However, itong late last week, nag-umpisa nitong Friday and Saturday ay nakapagtala tayo ng positive cases sa ilan nating mga stations,” he added.
(However, this late last week, beginning Friday and Saturday, we have recorded positive cases at some of our stations.)
The DOTr said it would release personnel information at MRT3 stations who were infected by the virus.
MRT3 Director for Operations Michael Capati added that they would also study contact tracing measures while suspending MRT3 operations.
Among the new COVID-19 positive cases are 19 staff at the MRT3 stations, which includes 11 ticket sellers, three train drivers, and two control center personnel.
Ticket sellers are assigned to North Avenue Station (four); Cubao Station (five); Kamuning Station (one), a reserve and a nurse from Taft.