Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday re-imposed some of the stringent measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) after the twin-island recorded 70 new cases over a 48 hour period.
“I have been authorized by the Honourable Prime Minister (Dr. Keith Rowley) to announce the following measures which will kick in for a three-week period starting at midnight tonight,” Health Minister Terrence Deyalsimgh told a news conference. Last week, Rowley tested positive for the virus.
‘There will be no longer allowed in-house dining in restaurants, bars, casinos and cinemas,” he said, noting that the new measures would also allow for the closure of beaches across the country.
“We are also reducing public gatherings from 10 persons back to five persons. But we urge persons, the same five persons with masks in the public domain to please institute those same measures in your private settings”
He said that another measure to discourage gatherings beaches “down the islands” would be closed “because there are those who believe down the islands are not part of Trinidad and Tobago.
“The exception is going to be made for persons involved in the conservation activities for the leatherback turtles,” Deyalsingh said, reiterating that house parties and other such activities are being discouraged.
He said while tour boats would be allowed, the use of music on them would be banned “to make sure that masking can be maintained.
‘We want people to earn a living, we are also reducing public gatherings in the public from 10 to five persons. We are once again appealing to people do not have limes in your houses whether it is a birthday party, a wedding or whatever.”
Thoracic Medical Director at the Caura Hospital, Dr. Michelle Trotman, described the increased number of cases as “worrying.
“It is quite clear that we are in the middle of an upsurge in the cases of COVID-19 in Trinidad and Tobago. This is serious. It is time for us to stand on our basic principles when it comes to COVID-19 the preventative measures that are just not needed at this time are absolutely essential.
“We know how the virus spreads,” she said, urging persons to practice the basic health measures including social distancing and wearing masks.
The Ministry of Health said that the 70 new cases reflect samples taken between April 10-12 and the country now has 566 active cases.
It said 10,360 people have been vaccinated since the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine last Tuesday.
The total number of deaths remains at 146.
The ministry said 71 patients are in hospital, 255 in state quarantine, five in step-down facilities, and 420 in self-isolation.