127 staff of MRT-3 Depot positive for COVID-19

The Department of Transportation said the capacity of the MRT-3  will be reduced on July 6 after the number of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases among its depot personnel increased to 127 as of July 2.

The agency said the 127 cases consist of 124 Sumitomo Depot Personnel and three MRT3 Depot Personnel. 

MRT3 has 1,714 Depot personnel.

Swab testing of all personnel enabled MRT3 and Sumitomo-MHI to immediately identify and quarantine all affected personnel, allowing MRT3, with IATF-EID guidance and upon advice of Sumitomo-MHI, to continue operations at reduced capacity.

MRT-3 management has assured that all its stations personnel remain COVID-19 free.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said that with the guidance of the IATF-EID and upon advice of Sumitomo-MHI, MRT-3 is able to continue operations, with the possibility of reducing capacity starting  July 6, due to the number of maintenance personnel at the depot that are currently on quarantine. 

The extent of operating level reduction (i.e., number of reduced trains) will be advised by Sumitomo over the weekend.

“Sumitomo requested to discuss on a day-by-day basis the level of operations that they can sustain as results of the mass swab testing continue to be released. In the meantime, Sumitomo advised that they are able to continue with operations to service MRT-3’s tens of thousands of passengers, although at a reduced level,” Batan said.

“While we try to do our best to keep the same maintenance performance through this week, we would like to discuss with DOTr MRT3 office day by day, how much maintenance level we would be able to keep, in view of the number of COVID-19 infected people,”  Masanori Honda of Sumitomo said.

MRT-3 reached its highest GCQ ridership to date on June 19, carrying 67,821 passengers at its reduced capacity of 13 percent (153 passengers per train, down from 1,182 pre-ECQ). MRT-3’s Bus Augmentation Program also reached its highest ridership on the same day, carrying 8,835 passengers.

To augment MRT-3’s further reduced capacity due to the quarantine of some of its depot personnel, DOTr will be boosting its Bus Augmentation Program and EDSA Busway service, in coordination with the DOTr Road Sector, LTFRB, and MMDA. 

Per guidance of the IATF-EID, additional measures and precautions will be taken during MRT-3’s reduced operations, including requiring full PPE for stations and depot personnel, limiting movement of depot personnel to their immediate areas of responsibility, increased disinfection activities, and heightened monitoring and screening of symptoms among all personnel.

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