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Strict measures in T&T as COVID cases rise

Strict measures in T&T as COVID cases rise
Dr Keith Rowley (FILE)

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PORT OF SPAIN – The Trinidad and Tobago government Thursday announced stricter measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) after the country recorded 328 new cases of the virus in a 24 hour period.

Late Wednesday, the Ministry of Health reported that 223 new COVID-19 cases – from samples taken between April 25 and 27– have pushed the overall total past 10 000.

The country has now recorded 10 170 COVID-19 cases since the first reported infection in March 2020. From these, 8 351 patients have recovered. The death toll also increased to 163 after the Ministry of Health recorded two new deaths on Wednesday. There are now 1 656 active cases.

“The numbers we are seeing now are slightly ahead of the projected numbers that we would have made in some quarters and in some other quarters we would see the curve not going in the direction we would like it to go,” said Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.

“But taking the raw number 328, as against 250,as against 180 and as against 15 you don’t have to be an Einstein to understand what we dealing with,” Rowley said, reminding the country that Trinidad and Tobago and the rest of the world is dealing with a pandemic.

“Difficult as it is, it is the best option open to us,” added Rowley, who just recovered from virus. He said the new measures would go into effect from midnight and last until May 23.

He said that all restaurants, bars, malls, places of worship, gyms, fitness centres as well as spas, hairdressing and beauty places, casinos, cinemas, theatres and clubs, will be closed.

In addition the public service will operate on essential services. Rowley said that in the case of Tobago, there will be a cut in the number of flights to the island, as well as a reduction in the number of passengers utilising the sea bridge. All tours to areas of recreation will also be curtailed in both islands.

The government also announced that the police would now be able to enter private homes and end activities that contrive the existing health protocols.

He told reporters that the figures showed that with all the cautions being thrown to the wind “the only thing we can do now in Trinidad and Tobago to evade a disaster brought on by COVID-19 in its second year is to intervene and to interrupt the distribution of the virus among the population”.

Rowley said that the introduction of the vaccine here also contributed to people engaging in a relaxation of the various protocols, such as wearing masks, social distancing and washing hands.

“We still have a lot of people who believe COVID is a hoax,” he said, adding that behaviours at home also contributed to the spread of the virus.

Rowley said recently the United States indicated it would be making approximately 60 million doses of the virus available to other countries and Trinidad and Tobago was hoping to be among those benefiting from the gesture. (CMC)