Health Secretary: THA treated covid19 as an endemic for months

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Deputy Chief Secretary Dr Faith BYisrael. – File photo/David Reid

THA Deputy Chief Secretary and Secretary of Health, Wellness and Social Protection Dr Faith BYisrael said World Health Organisation (WHO) director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ announcement that the covid19 pandemic is over was predictable.

“The official numbers locally have been consistently low for several months, which is why the Division of Health, Wellness and Social Protection has not been publishing them,” she told Sunday Newsday via WhatsApp.

BYisrael said the THA on a whole has been “functioning as if we’ve been in endemic stage for months.”

“We welcome this global announcement.”

Nevertheless, BYisrael encouraged Tobagonians to continue washing their hands (because this process prevents many other diseases) and seek medical care if they feel very ill.”

At a media conference on Friday, Ghebreyesus said the virus was no longer a public health emergency of international concern. Covid19 was declared a pandemic on January 20, 2020.

He said the pandemic has been on a downward trend for more than a year with population immunity increasing from vaccination and infection.

Ghebreyesus said mortality rates globally and the pressures on hospitals and other health care facilities have also been decreasing.

“This trend has allowed most countries to return to life as we knew it before covid19,” he said.

The Ministry of Health, noting the WHO’s announcement, urged unvaccinated citizens to still get vaccinated and to follow the public health measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

“In TT, covid19 continues to circulate at a very low level,” it said in a release, adding that transmission continues to be classified as community in nature.

But the ministry noted that morbidity and mortality from covid19 have been on the decline in keeping with the global epidemiology picture over the past few months.