Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley said plans remain on track to have a phased re-opening of the borders by the second week of July as the island is also looking at the possibility of relaxing some of the COVID-19 safety measures.
“We are going to be making these adjustments but they are all going to be governed by the level of infection rate,” Rowley told reporters at the weekly news conference involving officials from the Ministries of Health and National Security.
He told reporters that “we are still on track” for the possible scheduled re-opening of the borders to allow for flights in and out of the Piarco International Airport that has been closed to scheduled traffic since March last year.
“The open border is not a free for all. It will be a border which will be opened for activities, the most important thing would be there would be scheduled arrangements and persons who are vaccinated as against those who are not vaccinated would be treated as groups of people with different conditions,” Rowley told reporters.
Rowley said that the border opening, which coincides with plans to allow construction workers back at their jobs possibly next week as a result of the national vaccination program, is not linked.
He also said the intention is to put back the curfews from 9.00 pm to 5.00 am on the weekend, reversing the 7.00 pm to 5.00 am and 10.00 am to 7.00 pm on holidays.
“So we will do that again next weekend and unless something drastically appears we will not do it that way. We will then more than likely go back to the more relaxed curfew arrangement,” Rowley said, adding that the state of emergency (SOE) still remains in effect.
Rowley told reporters that the country “it is not the intention to keep people at home for a long period.
“We did that to be able to blunt the spread of the virus through our population, which could have and would have had devastating consequences.
‘We have suffered a number of loss of lives, one being too many, and of course, we moved from quickly from very low levels to extremely high levels, but this is the pandemic of 2021 and we are hoping to get out of it with a minimum loss of lives and of course minimum dislocation.”
Rowley said that the national vaccination program is proceedings smoothly and that hopefully, the 377,000 vaccines that the country has been able to receive should allow for persons to receive jabs until mid-July.
He said Trinidad is scheduled to receive at least 33, 000 doses under the COVAX facility that has again been delayed and that another significant shipment is expected from China.
The government is also seeking to source vaccines from the African Union and is looking towards the United States for a share of the vaccines that President Biden has promised to give developing countries.
Trinidad and Tobago has registered 713 deaths and 30, 183 positive cases of the virus, since the first case was reported in March last year.