More COVID ease for Trinidad and Tobago
PORT OF SPAIN– The Trinidad and Tobago government on Saturday announced a further easing of the restriction of measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) based on a ramped up mass vaccination programme.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, speaking at a news conference here, said that an estimated 800 000 vaccines should be arriving from China on Tuesday and that would allow for an increased vaccination programme being undertaken by the Ministry of Health.
He said based on that programme, the government would allow for the re-opening of the retail sector on Monday followed on July 19 by the re-opening of food establishments and some other sectors.
Last week, the construction sector resumed and Rowley said that allowed for 45 000 people being able to earn a living.
The Prime Minister Rowley said that the government would still in keep place the state of emergency and the curfew but would be monitoring the situation to ensure that those measures could be lifted as soon as possible.
He said that since the pandemic began and the announcement of a vaccine to help treat the effects of the virus, his administration had sought to acquire vaccines for at least 900 000 people so as to ensure a level of herd immunity here.
Rowley recalled the difficulties Trinidad and Tobago and other developing countries had in acquiring the vaccines since 70 per cent of all vaccines produced were being used in rich and powerful countries.
He said the arrival of the Chinese made Sinopharm vaccine on Tuesday as well as those other vaccines already here would allow for a significant number of people to be vaccinated by the end of July.
“The government of Trinidad and Tobago today has done what the government had set out to do which is to provide the population with the vaccines that are required and the population is now required to use those vaccines to protect itself on an individual basis.
“I want to thank all those volunteers from the private sector who have been working with the Ministry of Health in those vaccination programmes….vaccinating people across the country, because many of those people who got vaccinated could have been people who would have been reported in the daily statistical expressions of people who were infected and could have come to a worst case scenario,” Rowley said.
Health authorities acknowledged on Saturday that more than 300 people who had died over the past three months from the virus had not even had a single dose of the vaccine.
“We have to continue. We are now going to ramp up the vaccination programme. We are going to have the mass vaccination programme operate for many hours…so that by the end of July going into August we should have a significant number, if not all those vaccines that are coming here on Tuesday, utilised in Trinidad and Tobago,” Rowley said,
He said the idea is to get the vaccines “as quickly as possible into arms” as the government moves to further re-opening the economy.
He said the next set of workers to go back to their jobs will be those in the food establishment, restaurants, itinerant and non-itinerant businesses, curb side pick and take out, delivery and drive through.
He said once the food establishments are opened, tens of thousands of people would be interacting again.
Trinidad and Tobago recorded 930 deaths and 34 402 cases of the virus since March last year. (CMC)