How an on-site PCR lab kept Covid at bay from Malaysia’s mass rapid transport project

A private in-house PCR lab established on a rapid transit (MRT) project in Malaysia has kept Covid-19 cases under control even as national numbers have risen.

The approach was taken for the $ 3.1 billion (£ 2.3 billion) Klang Valley Putrajaya MRT Line underground works project, located in the dense cityscape of Kuala Lumpar.

Main contractor Gamuda Engineering, deputy project manager NG Hau Wei, said RCEThis week’s Festival of Tunneling that the PCR lab – part of the project’s “new normal ecosystem” – helped “pinch [cases] in the bud ”.

“The infectivity and transmission rates of the project closely followed the national trend until we implemented our new normal ecosystem, which was in place by the end of 2020,” he said. declared. “After that, there was a clear divergence from our project. number of cases compared to national figures increasing throughout 2021. “

According to Wei, a team of 40 professional technicians and a licensed virologist were employed to perform bi-monthly screenings for the entire workforce of more than 20,000 people – from senior managers to site officers.

Another part of the new normal ecosystem is the project’s Covid-19 triage center, which provides 24/7 medical care to symptomatic patients and aims to minimize deterioration.

“It reduced the burden on the public health care system that was already stretched to its limit at the time,” Wei said.

As national Covid cases increased, the project team also built a new centralized work district (CLQ) in three months to improve the social distancing of workers.

Wei added, “We have also modernized our existing CLQ with separate common facilities to reduce the potential for spread. Each CLQ had its own quarantine center and a digital passport system for tracking access, vaccinations and test results.

Overall, Wei said the new normal ecosystem “has been successful in suppressing the spread of Covid-19” and ensuring that the yards remain open.

“Armed with this data, we convinced the competent authorities to allow us to continue working at full capacity throughout the various lockdowns in the country,” he said.

“As a result, we delivered the tunneling work on schedule at the height of the pandemic, unlike many other delayed infrastructure projects around the world.”

The project includes 13.5 km of tunnels that are part of a 52.2 km wider railway line that will connect the townships of Sungai Buloh, Serdang and Putrajaya. The entire program is valued at $ 7.19 billion (£ 5.4 billion).

There are 35 stations, 11 of which are underground. The device should be completed in 2022.

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