Sunday 29 November, 2020

35 JUTC staff members have tested positive for COVID-19

A JUTC bus loading passengers at the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre.

A JUTC bus loading passengers at the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre.

There have been 35 positive cases of COVID-19 at the state-owned Jamaica Urban Transport Company (JUTC), according to managing director Paul Abrahams.

At the same time, 142 members of staff have been placed in isolation as a result of the positive cases.

Abrahams made the disclosure Thursday during a virtual media briefing involving the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

The JUTC, which moves thousands of commuters daily across the Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region (KMTR) which includes the Corporate Area and parts of St Catherine, took steps months ago to protect both its employees and passengers from the virus. Among other things, buses were restricted to carrying seated passengers only to prevent overcrowding, shortly after Jamaica confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on March 10.

Also, both passengers and drivers must wear a mask at all times.

“Having 150,000 persons on your buses every day and not knowing anything about them, definitely classifies us as a high risk,” Abrahams stated.

It is not clear how many drivers are among the positive cases but Abrahams noted that as early as January, the bus company launched educational programmes to alert staff to the threat of the virus.

The managing director said that, for the most part, passengers have been compliant with COVID-19 protocols on JUTC buses.

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