To protect the well-being of the riding public, the Manila Metro Rail Transit System Line 3 (MRT-3) maintenance team is taking proactive preventive steps against 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) inside and outside the train.
In a recent Facebook post, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) reported that personnel from Sumitomo-MHI-TESP worked on cleaning and disinfecting seats, doors, posts, and handrails of the train. They also stationed alcohol dispensers at ticket windows and provided soaps inside restrooms.
The railway management reminded the riding public of the Department of Health’s (DOH) precaution that wearing face masks is not enough. Proper hand hygiene is important, particularly washing regularly or using alcohol or sanitizers. They also encourage eating healthy, drinking vitamins for better immunity, and most importantly, consulting doctors when symptoms occur.
Land Transport Precautionary Measures
All other public transportation agencies are on high alert for the prevention of the 2019-nCoV spread, as cited in this Coast Guard bulletin. The DOTr has implemented stringent measures to prevent the spread of the virus since China confirmed its presence. Secretary Tugade said that they are partnering with the DOH and the Bureau of Quarantine in strengthening initiatives for the security of transport terminals and the supervision of arriving passengers.
For one, the Light Rail Transit System Line 1 (LRT-1) management has required guards and ticket sellers to wear face masks and sanitize regularly. Releasing health reminders for the public on their Facebook page, they advise the public to wear masks properly, especially when going to public spaces. They urge people to cover their mouths and noses when sneezing or coughing.
Similar to MRT-3 management, they also encourage washing of hands properly or using alcohol-based hand rubs. Health checks, especially when symptoms of coughs and runny nose persist, are crucial as well.
The Land Transport Franchising and Regulatory Board, the sectoral agency of the DOTr, also released a memorandum, requiring all public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and conductors to wear face masks properly whenever they are on duty. Terminal operators are also mandated to clean and sanitize their facilities, even giving out face masks and disinfectants for passengers.
Air Transport Precautionary Measures
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), meanwhile, has implemented its communicable disease preparedness procedures on aviation hubs, particularly those in Davao, General Santos, Kalibo, Iloilo, Puerto Princesa, and Laoag. In a recent report from Philippine News Agency (PNA), the aviation office is keeping an eye on the entry of foreigners in Zamboanga City.
CAAP urged frontliners in airport facilities around the country to exercise preventive actions, such as washing hands regularly and practicing good hygiene. They are tasked to be cautious about handling passenger arrivals, watching out for those infected by the virus.
CAAP also publishes bulletins for the public’s information about nCoV.
The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), for its part, canceled all air services operations indefinitely between Wuhan, the ground zero of China’s virus epidemic, and any region in the Philippines. They also required airlines to consider what was happening in Chinese cities and other countries, and exercise precautionary measures to protect the well-being of the passengers.
Manila Bulletin reported recently CAB’s clarification on the scope of the travel ban. The agency said that only visitors coming in from affected Chinese areas are covered. They’re still allowing flights from China, Macau, and Hong Kong.
Aside from the ban security protocol, the aviation agency tasked the airlines to distribute copies of the Health Declaration Checklist and encouraged passengers and members of the crew to answer before disembarkation. The checklist is crucial in helping the Bureau of Quarantine locate passengers who may show symptoms of the infection later.
Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) is also closely coordinating with the Bureau of Quarantine for their safety initiatives. Officials allocated space for quarantine thermal screening of arriving passengers. The station, which is at the arrival concourse, has writing desks for the public.
MIAA also called on the public to avoid coming in groups to the airport when they fetch or send off loved ones and friends, as reported by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA). They especially warned against bringing vulnerable people, such as children, the elderly, and individuals with medical conditions, to reduce exposure in crowded places.
Meanwhile, all aviation hubs receive a directive to review and improve their respective airport emergency plans. The scheme must reflect measures that would resolve public health threats, especially the 2019-nCoV. Officials from airports and area centers are encouraged to partner with the local Quarantine Health Office.
Maritime Transport Precautionary Measures
The Philippine Ports Authority tightened security protocols in Bohol and Caticlan in Aklan, destinations frequented by tourists. Frontline personnel received face masks and sanitizers as well for their protection.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard sent out a directive to all medical units in its 13 districts to keep watch and prevent the possible spread of the virus.
Seaports around the country are likewise mandated to work with the quarantine office in screening passengers at arrival areas.
Sources: MRT-3 Official Facebook Page, Coast Guard, LRT Official Facebook Page, PNA, Manila Bulletin, PIA
Main photo via Department of Transportation – Philippines Facebook Page