Talking, answering calls banned in Metro Manila’s MRT-3 to prevent spread of COVID-19

Inside Metro Manila’s MRT-3. Photo: DoTR MRT-3/FB
Inside Metro Manila’s MRT-3. Photo: DoTR MRT-3/FB

Most Filipinos enjoy chatting with friends and family. Talking — whether in person or on the phone — is a way for us to get to know each other, to bond with people we like. But from now on, Pinoys won’t be able to talk in one of Metro Manila’s most popular modes of transport: the MRT-3.

Wait, whuttt?

The management of the decades-old train line announced today that talking and answering cellphones inside the MRT-3 are now banned, in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among its passengers.

According to the Department of Transport (DOTr), talking and answering mobile phones “may cause the spread of respiratory droplets, which comes from speaking, coughing, [and] sneezing which is why all passengers are also urged to keep wearing their face masks.”

“In addition, we will also be conducting contact tracing of passengers; the MRT-3 will start giving health declaration forms to all passengers. These forms will be given to passengers while they are queueing and before they entire the turnstile area inside the train station,” the DOTr added in a statement posted online.

Read: MRT-3 infected staff rises to 202, trains to remain shut for five days

It’s understandable why the MRT-3’s management has become hyper-vigilant. At least 200 of its personnel have already been infected with the coronavirus, leading to a five-day shutdown that ended on Saturday. However, instead of tracking down passengers who may have been exposed to the train’s ill staff, the government told the public to just observe themselves for any COVID-19 symptoms.

The MRT-3 traverses 13 stations including one in Boni Ave. in Mandaluyong; Ortigas Center in Pasig; and Cubao in Quezon City. It’s notorious for breaking down far too often. 


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