MRT-3 passengers advised to observe health as COVID-19 hits 198 train employees

Marje Pelayo   •   July 7, 2020   •   243

MANILA, Philippines – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has infected a total of 198 personnel of Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) as of Tuesday (July 7), according to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

This prompted the agency to double its contact tracing efforts among its employees to immediately identify and treat possible carriers.

Based on the DOTr’s latest data, a total of 198 MRT-3 personnel were confirmed positive for COVID-19. 

The highest number was traced among workers in the MRT-3 Depot which is at 177, followed by 15 ticket sellers, 3 train drivers, 2 control personnel, and one station nurse. 

Infected ticket sellers were traced to had been assigned in four stations namely Kamuning, Cubao, Quezon Avenue and North Avenue Stations, according to DOTr.

Those traced in North Avenue and Cubao Stations were assigned to the 1:00 pm to 11:00 pm shift and 4:30 am to 2:30 pm shift.

Those traced in Quezon Avenue station were on the 1:00 pm to 11:00 pm shift; while those traced in Kamuning Station were on duty from 4:30 am to 2:30 pm shift.

Due to the rising number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among its personnel, the DOTr advised all passengers of MRT-3 to observe their health conditions, and, as much as possible, volunteer for 14-day home quarantine. 

“Kapag may naramdaman silang kakaiba ay agad agad silang lumapit doon sa mga local city health officers nila para makapag swabbing agad or magawan ng paraan [Once they feel something out of the ordinary, they should immediately go to their respective local city health officers for the swabbing test and address the situation],” advised DOTr Spokesperson Asec. Goddess Hope Libiran.

For now, the DOTr is finalizing the procedures on contact tracing among passengers which the agency plans to execute once the train operations resume. 

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has ordered the temporary suspension in MRT-3 operations this week to facilitate the RT-PCR testing among MRT-3 personnel. 

Thus, commuters are left with no choice but to take the augmentation buses and the EDSA Busway Service while train service is not available. 

The DOTr is asking bus operators to adjust the deployment of buses to an earlier time to avoid long lines of passengers in stations.

Pinapakiusapan natin ang contractor ng mga buses na ito na kung pwede mas agahan pa nila yung dispatch system kung kaya nila na magsimula ng 4:30 o 5:00 am, much better [We are asking bus contractors to adjust their dispatch system to an earlier time preferably 4:30 am or 5:00 am, that’s much better],” Libiran said.

The DOTr eyes the resumption of MRT-3 operations on July 11 but it will depend on the results of the ongoing COVID-19 testing among its personnel. 

MRT-3 has over 3,200 personnel and a regular train operation under limited manpower will require at least 1,300 employees.

But once around 964 personnel test negative of the virus, train operation may likely to resume, the DOTr said. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

‘No need to panic buy,’ Palace reminds public

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 3, 2020

Consumers in Metro Manila flocked to grocery stores after President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday night, approved the reversion of some areas to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) in response to the medical frontliners’ plea for a two-week “timeout”.

This prompted Malacañang on Monday to remind the public not to panic buy amid the implementation of MECQ in the National Capital Region (NCR).

“Walang dahilan para mag-panic buying. Supplies are high, delivered in supermarkets in anticipation of bigger demand prior to MECQ,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

The Palace official reiterated that only essential establishments will remain open including supermarkets, banks, and hospitals. He also said that the “time out” will be used to strengthen the government’s testing, tracing, and treatment of COVID-19.

“This is primarily to accede to the demand of the frontliners for a break. A ‘time out,'” Roque said. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

PLM on 2-week lockdown over rise in COVID-19 cases among staff

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 3, 2020

The Pamantasang Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) will be placed under a two-week lockdown due to the high number of staff that tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“There are currently four confirmed cases, with two recovered patients and one fatality among employees. There are also three probable and one suspect cases,” PLM President Emmanuel Leyco said in a statement.

BREAKING: Mayor Isko approves two-week quarantine at PLM amid rising COVID-19 casesManila City Mayor Francisco ‘Isko…

Posted by Manila Public Information Office on Sunday, August 2, 2020

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso has approved their request and the PLM management will be adopting a strict work-from-home arrangement for employees for the next two weeks.

“As a University which produces doctors, nurses and medical professionals, we believe it is necessary to respond to the public health crisis by listening to science and the inputs of medical experts,” Leyco said. AAC

Hoping to show off your newborn? Glass-enclosed mobile presentation cabins available in Mexico

UNTV News   •   August 3, 2020

A Monterrey-based advertising company in Mexico changed its set of operations and now offers local residents the opportunity to rent a glass-enclosed mobile cabin to present newborns to family amid the ongoing pandemic.

A glass-enclosed mobile cabin arrives at the venue and is deep cleaned before proud parents and newborn make their entrance, while relatives and friends drive past honking their horns to take a peek at the baby.

Only close relatives are then allowed to get down from their vehicles in order to get a closer look. Renting the cabin costs $900 pesos ($40 dollars) per hour.

Adman Ernesto Gonzalez, came up with the enterprise because his daughter was born in June and he was worried that his 95-year-old grandmother would be unable to meet her.

Mexico racked up a record number of new confirmed coronavirus infections on Saturday (August 1), registering more than 9,000 daily cases for the first time and passing the previous peak for the second day running, official data showed.

Mexico’s health ministry reported 9,556 new cases of coronavirus, surging past the record of 8,458 set on Friday. The ministry also logged 784 additional fatalities, bringing the total tally in the country to 434,193 cases and 47,472 deaths. (Reuters)

(Production: Daniel Becerril, Rodolfo Pena Roja, Geraldine Downer)

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