Random antigen testing set for railways amid rising COVID-19 cases

Aika Rey
Random antigen testing set for railways amid rising COVID-19 cases

MRT. Commuters board the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 at the North Avenue Station in Quezon City on October 19, 2020.

Pino Arcenas/Rappler

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade says any change in public transportation capacity would have to be approved by the government's coronavirus task force

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said on Sunday, January 2, that random antigen testing will be conducted in railways as COVID-19 cases are rising after the holidays.

Random antigen testing will be done on passengers who give their consent or volunteer.

So far, the capacity inside railways will remain at 70%. Train marshals will also be deployed to ensure health protocols are being followed.

“This is to avoid the ‘bottlenecking’ or crowding of passengers at stations, which may increase the risk of virus transmission,” said Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade of the recommendation to maintain the same capacity in railways.

Tugade added that any changes in passenger capacity in railways and in other modes of public transportation will be subject to the approval of the government’s coronavirus task force.

For railway personnel, the DOTr requires antigen testing. Tugade also said vaccination records of all rail personnel should be verified and booster shots should be given.

Metro Manila will be under Alert Level 3 starting Monday, January 3, as new coronavirus cases have again soared to thousands on a daily basis. On Sunday, the Philippines logged 4,600 infections, the highest in over two months. –

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at