HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh warned that a premature relaxing of covid19 restrictions “will sling shot us right back to the Stone Age.” At Tuesday’s virtual news conference, Deyalsingh said, “We don’t want that.”
He said the barometer he uses to determine whether the public is heeding the public health regulations and stay at home request is the daily traffic he sees outside the Port of Spain central market and the lighthouse. “Let me say, the traffic I am seeing now is the regular August vacation traffic you will see when school is out.”
Deyalsingh said removing the regular school traffic, what he sees “anecdotallly,” at the lighthouse and at the central market is increased traffic. He reiterated that if the stay-at-home request and other covid19 guidelines are not followed “all these best laid plans will come crashing down upon us.”
Whether it is the opening of schools or anything else in TT that was closed because of covid19, Deyalsingh said the Prime Minister said “he would start to look at where things are by the end of this week.”
Dr Rowley, Deyalsingh continued, will be guided by the science and data provided by Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram and other public health experts about what could open, when and how it could open.
He said TT “has to stay the course” until the April 30 deadline in the public health regulations. Rowley has said Government could be a position before April 30 to determine if any covid19 regulations could be relaxed.
In keeping with plans to ramp up covid19 testing from April 27, Deyalsingh said information on medical efforts to curb covid19 will be relayed to trhe Road Map Recovery Team led by Rowley. He disclosed the team’s vice-chairman, Public Utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte, has given him “a shopping list of what TT post-covid or during covid will look like.”
Deyalsingh said, “We will be compiling that scenario for Minister Le Hunte and pass it on to him. I am sure he will feed into the PM’s team for the post-covid recovery.” The team, which was appointed on April16, held its first meeting on Monday.
On testing, Deyalsingh said 1,750 of the 4,000 test kits received from China will be used to ramp up covid19 testing as extractor kits for these kits have arrived in TT. While TT is facing international challenges to acquire personal protective equipment (PPE), Deyalsingh did not say whether or not this was due to any country or countries hoarding PPE.
Altogether, Deyalsingh said there are 120 people being cared for in the parallel health system established for covid19, which has a total of 924 beds.
Had this system not been established and other measures taken since January to protect TT against covid19, Deyalsingh said covid19 suspect or covid19 positive cases may have been treated in “a crowded hospital setting” in the regular health system.
“That is a recipe for community spread. It would mean your entire health care system is compromised, is infected and things will just collapse.” He added that because of Government’s actions, the regular health system is still functioning well.
(See Page 5A)