Northbound Philippines News

LRT-1 workers undergo ‘risk-based’ testing for Covid-19

MANILA – Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC), the operator of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1), on Wednesday said it has adopted a limited approach to testing for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) among its workers, noting that only those suspected of having the disease or those exposed are prioritized for testing.

In a statement, the LRMC said its “strategic, risk-based” approach for RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) testing for its personnel was in line with the Department of Health (DOH) guidelines.

“Through an internal contact tracing protocol based on the DOH (Department of Health) criteria, LRMC has prioritized those with symptoms (suspect cases) and those with exposures to confirmed cases,” the LRMC said.

This, after Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade tasked the LRMC to conduct mandatory testing for Covid-19 for all its workers.

“They should swab all their people. Cost is not the primary issue here. We can discuss who absorbs the cost at some later time. What matters most is the health and safety of commuters and their employees,” Tugade said.

He also ordered Philippine National Railways General Manager Junn Magno and DOTr Assistant Secretary Fidel Cruz to review the Covid-19 health and safety protocols at the LRT-1.

In response, the LRMC said it has recently rolled out new measures through the use of Ultraviolet C technology for disinfection, deployment of thermal cameras for screening passengers, and a contact-tracing app for the public.

“LRMC ensures that it is up-to-date with the passenger, sanitation, and safety promotion guidelines required for operation by the DOH and IATF, and will continue to work with DOTr on their concerns,” the LRMC said.

Earlier, the LRMC announced that it will lay-off more than 100 or 20 percent of its workforce by September 15 due to a significant drop in the ridership of the rail service brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tugade later asked the other rail lines in Metro Manila to absorb LRT-1 workers that will be affected by the retrenchment. Raymond Carl Dela Cruz /PNA –

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