Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley on Monday tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) one week after he had first been diagnosed with the virus, according to an official statement.
The statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said that Rowley continues to be in quarantine in Tobago.
“This morning he was swabbed and tested. Results indicate that he is still positive for the virus and therefore will remain in quarantine at Blenheim House in Tobago observing all the required health protocols under the care and observation of the medical staff of the Tobago Regional Health Authority,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago on Monday announced that a second case of the UK variant of the coronavirus (COVID-19) had been detected, as health authorities note an increase in hospital spaces within the parallel healthcare system as cases of the virus hit the highest average since last year.
“We’ve seen a gradual increasing trend in terms of hospital occupancies based on the increasing rolling average. Up until four to five weeks ago, the rolling average was in the vicinity of four cases per seven-day rolling average. However, we’ve been seeing an increasing trend where the rolling average is now 32, and this has been one of the highest rolling averages since last year,” said. Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards, acting Principal Medical Officer – Institutions at the Ministry of Health.
She told the weekly media conference that the number of COVID-19 cases has reached its highest rolling average since last year, with hospital spaces increasing from two to 18 percent. She told reporters that she could not confirm whether the increase was due to activities over the Easter weekend indicating that the data is still being collated.
However, she has confirmed that there is community transmission, particularly with cases being seen along the East-West corridor.
The Health Ministry said it is urging the public to maintain health protocols amid signs of increasing community transmission.
Dr. Abdool-Richards said that the second case of the UK variant of the covid19 virus – B117 – was from a patient who was among several recently repatriated nationals from the United States.
“This person is currently receiving medical care in the parallel healthcare system and has been isolated,” she said.
The first record of the variant in Trinidad and Tobago was in January in a repatriated national from the United Kingdom. The patient has since recovered.
Earlier this month, five cases of the variant were detected among foreigners aboard a ship.
The Ministry of Health said that the samples were sent to the University of the West Indies (UWI) for genetic sequencing and the ship has since left the country.
However, it noted that the foreigners were not allowed to disembark from the vessel because of national quarantine protocols.
Meantime, the arrival of 40,000 vaccines being donated to Trinidad and Tobago by India has been Dr. Abdool-Richards said owing to circumstances beyond the control of the government, the vaccines have been delayed and the ministry will announce the new arrival date when the information becomes available.
Last Friday, India’s High Commissioner, Arun Kumar Sahu said the vaccines had left the Asian country and were due to arrive on Monday.