PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley on Saturday said that despite his appeal, members of the public were not taking the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) seriously as Trinidad and Tobago recorded four new cases of the virus.
The Ministry of Health in its daily bulletin said that the four new cases “are pending epidemiological investigation” and that “all established protocols have been implemented”.
As a result of the new cases, Trinidad and Tobago is now reporting 173 cases and eight deaths from the virus that was first detected in March.
“It is clear that my appeal to the public to take the threat of COVID-19 seriously and to not congregate or assemble in large groups is falling on many deaf ears. These are people who believe that they must put their finger in the wound to believe that there could be pain,” Rowley said in a statement.
He said that it is in this context that once again “I am appealing to my colleagues of the political arena, the UNC (opposition United National Congress), officers and supporters to stop organising large groups of people to walk around neighbourhoods.
“This action provides fertile conditions to fuel an outbreak of the virus. This political activity may be deemed essential but not in this time of a pandemic.This action of denial or daring poses a threat to the entire nation. There are many other ways to reach and influence the electorate,” Rowley said.
Trinidad and Tobago will elect a new government on August 10 and the ruling People’s National Party (PNM) is the only one of the 19 political organisations contesting all 41 seats at stake. The UNC is contesting all 39 seats on Trinidad and none in Tobago.
“I appeal to all persons organising groups to refrain from violating the health protocols of small groups and wearing of masks once outdoors among people,” Rowley added.
On Friday, Rowley told a news conference that persons should exercise caution, social distancing and wear masks when out in public. He also announced that the number of people in gatherings had been reduced from 25 to 10.