4 more MRT staff have COVID-19; 202 now infected

Four more depot personnel of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total numbers of infected employees to 202 as of Tuesday night, the Department of Transportation said Wednesday.

DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddess Libiran said that of the infected workers, 181 are depot personnel, 15 are ticket sellers, three are train drivers, two are from Control Center operations, and one is a nurse from the Taft Ave. Station.

According to Libiran, eight of the ticket sellers are from North Ave. Station, three from Cubao Station, two from GMA-Kamuning Station, one from Quezon Ave. Station, while the other one was on reserve status.

The DOTr had earlier advised passengers who may possibly have direct contact with the infected personnel to "thoroughly observe their condition and undergo home quarantine" to prevent further transmission of the virus.

To help passengers determine if they had an interaction with the infected station personnel, the MRT-3 management has traced the working shifts of ticket sellers who contracted the respiratory disease.

The working shifts of the ticket sellers from North Ave. Station are 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. while those from Quezon Ave. were deployed from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Station personnel from GMA-Kamuning Station have a working schedule of 4:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. and those from Cubao Station were deployed from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., the DOTr said.

With the spike on the positive cases among MRT-3 personnel, the management, as advised by the IATF, temporarily suspended its operations from July 7 to 11.

This shutdown period, however, may be shortened or extended, or until the management confirms a sufficient number of train personnel who will test negative and sustain limited operations.

During the suspended operations, the MRT-3 management will continue to conduct RT-PCR or swab testing of all its personnel, including those from its maintenance provider and subcontractors, to prevent further spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, to help ferry commuters affected by the shutdown, the DOTr said that the Bus Augmentation Program will continue to deploy 90 buses with a fixed dispatching interval of every three minutes.

In addition, 190 buses have been deployed for the EDSA Busway service, to transport passengers between Monumento in Caloocan City and the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) in Paranaque City.

A mini loop will also run between Timog Ave. in Quezon City and Ortigas in Pasig City to service passengers, where shuttle services or mini buses will be allowed to pick up and drop off passengers at the curbside.