MANILA - The Department of Transportation on Sunday announced that Metro Manila's railways will go on limited operations starting Monday, April 5, as personnel undergo COVID-19 testing.
This was after different railway operators recorded a spike in COVID-19 cases among employees.
In a statement, DOTr said the MRT-3 will reduce capacity with only 10 to 12 trains to be dispatched.
This means the system can only accommodate 372 passengers per train set, or 124 passengers per car.
The LRT-2, on the other hand, will dispatch 5 trains, while LRT-1 will dispatch 17 trains.
DOTr said affected passengers will be served by the augmenting buses running on the EDSA Carousel route, as well as the other routes for the LRT 1 and 2.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Railways will be suspending its operations until Thursday, April 8.
PNR said out of 579 employees who were tested, 91 turned out positive for COVID-19.
By April 9, PNR will resume its operations and will dispatch 10 to 12 trains.
PNR said it held a ‘sampling test’ of its employees in early March following the rise in infections in the National Capital Region.
“Since March 3, nung nag-umpisa yung spike ng cases sa NCR, before pa na-consider yung declaration sa ECQ, nagdududa na kami na may asymptomatic cases na kakalat-kalat sa premises namin,” said PNR General Manager Junn Magno.
(Since March 3, when the cases in the NCR spiked, even before ECQ was considered, we were already suspecting that there were asymptomatic cases going around our premises.)
The MRT-3 meanwhile said 107 employees were positive out of 604 employees who underwent testing. Most of the positive cases work at the station platforms or were train drivers.
LRT-2 reported that 136 employees were positive out of 529 who underwent testing.
LRT-1 had the fewest COVID-19 positive employees, with only 94 out of 281 who underwent testing.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade has ordered all rail sector personnel who are considered as active COVID-19 cases, or those who are still waiting for their results to be kept in isolation and not be allowed to enter trains or rail facilities. Their close contacts, as well as others who are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, are also barred from entering rail facilities.
DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Libiran meanwhile said that passengers were not exposed to railway personnel infected with the virus.
“We have done (a) review of all videos, there is no evidence of known exposure of an infected person sa isang pasahero na hindi protected ng mask, face shield and PPE. Thus, no evidence of rail employee to passenger exposure so far as contract tracing investigation suggests,” Libiran said through a Viber message.
As of Sunday, the Philippines has a total of 795,051 COVID-19 cases, of which 135,526 are active cases.