The Department of Transportation has ordered an increase in the maximum passenger capacity of MRT3 trains starting today, Monday, to accommodate more commuters.
The system will increase its maximum passenger capacity from 13 percent now (51 passengers per train car, 153 passengers per train set,) to 30 percent (124 passengers per train car, 372 passengers per train set).
“We will do this to help transport more people. In addition to increasing our train capacity, our passengers can also expect more trains to be deployed along the mainline, shorter waiting time, and faster travel time,” MRT-3 Director for Operations Michael J. Capati said.
“The increase in train capacity is a timely boost for the MRT-3 as the public demands a higher number of public transportation in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
After the government lifted the restrictions on non-essential outbound travel beginning Oct. 21, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said they were now studying easing the inbound travel restrictions despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nograles, the co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, said the government would be reviewing non-essential inbound travel policies because they recognized that there were foreign citizens who also wanted to spend the holidays with their loved ones and fiancées in the Philippines.
COVID recoveries soar
The “mass recoveries” in the Philippines of the COVID-19 pandemic reaching 14,941 patients pushed the total to 310,158, the Department of Health reported on Sunday.
The department also reported 2,379 new infections, bringing the total to 356,618.
“As of 4 p.m. today, October 18, 2020, the Department of Health reports the total number of COVID-19 cases at 356,618 after 2,379 newly-confirmed cases were added to the list of COVID-19 patients,” the department said in a bulletin.
Of the 2,379 reported cases, 1,580 (66 percent) occurred within the recent 14 days from Oct. 5 to Oct. 18, 2020.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers has condemned the alleged lack of health protection mechanisms for the employees of the Department of Education as the group observed a steep increase in the agency’s number of COVID-19 infection of late.
ACT said that, comparing Rep. Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong’s sharing of the department’s report on 2,193 COVID-positive cases among its employees in Sunday’s budget hearing with the agency’s data of 526 infected personnel on Aug. 23, the number of cases among teaching and non-teaching staff increased by 316 percent in less than two months.
“The rapid spread of infection among our teachers and staff brings alarm and anguish among our ranks. We feel the seriousness of our vulnerability with the lack of health screening and mass testing while we were obliged to report to school for module distribution and other duties,” said Raymond Basilio, ACT Secretary-General.
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