Key Points From Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley’s Media Conference – Saturday April 25th 2020:
– The Stay At Home initiative for non-essential workers will continue at least until May 15th, and T&T’s borders will remain closed at least until May 15th.
– Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said Government will be guided by the scientists, data, and advice from public health experts on the best time for T&T to open businesses and schools.
– Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley acknowledged that there may be some element of Coronavirus in the population and therefore Surveillance Testing must continue to determine what level of presence exists in the general population. He said, “Based on the way we have approached this and the requirement of the Public Health Department, we are required to give the technical people a further 14 days to conduct examinations of the population outside of the hospitalisation situation… That, then, will allow us to make confident opening-up decisions. So in short, we need a few more days of holding the fort to be able to come to a point where we can open back up the situation.”
– Technical Director in the Epidemiology Division at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Avery Hinds, reminded that all cases of COVID-19 in T&T started as imported cases from travel. He noted from the data, that there were minimal or few cases of Local Transmission (COVID-19 Positive person transmitted to family member). There has been no Community Spread since most cases were confined to families of persons who tested Positive for COVID-19. Surveillance Testing will ensure that there are no cases of Community Spread that are unknown or undocumented.
– On Surveillance Testing within the population, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roshan Parasram projected that medical personnel will be able to conduct 50 Tests per day in the coming weeks, and this number will increase as time goes by. He said, “If we continue to have more Negatives we’ll be confident to say that Community Spread is extremely limited.”
– If all goes well with the Surveillance Testing and results yield more Negatives in the population, restrictions may be relaxed by May 10th.
– Hardware stores to open half-day Mondays to Saturdays.
– Prime Minister Rowley appealed to landlords to go easy on their tenants during this period as some may be out of work and unable to pay their full rent. He said: “We need to have the milk of human kindness.”
– Prime Minister Rowley noted that all national decisions on COVID-19 have been based on science. He also praised medical experts for guiding the Government at this time, saying he is proud to be Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and working alongside these experts.
– Prime Minister Rowley highlighted some strategies taken to prevent a COVID-19 crisis from occurring in T&T, including:
• Closing borders early.
• Closing schools early to prevent virus from infecting student population.
• Implementing the Stay At Home initiative.
• Maintaining Social Distancing.
• Maintaining Proper Hygiene.
• Ensuring no congregation at bars, stadiums and other places.
– Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said T&T has started on a long journey, and there is still some way to go.
– Prime Minister Rowley emphatically stated that there is no fallout between Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.
– The following is the update on COVID-19 patients across the various facilities:
CAURA: No patients
COUVA: 10 patients
SANGRE GRANDE STEP DOWN FACILITY: 8
HOME OF FOOTBALL: 37