The 69 TT nationals from Surimane being housed at the UWI Debe Campus for quarantine were tested for covid19 on Saturday.
At the Health Ministry’s regular virtual press conference on Saturday, the Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, said those who returned from Suriname on Friday would undergo nasal swabs for an initial test.
Deyalsingh and other medical experts have repeatedly said testing asymptomatic people would “yield no useful result” because it would be negative. When asked if those from Suriname had symptoms, he said, it was being done out of an abundance of caution, and following global best practice as laid out by the Chief Medical Officer based on their risk of exposure.
They would be treated under the same protocols that the 33 people who returned from Barbados underwent, Deyalsingh said.
“Remember these people would have gone through an airport, close contact on a flight, they were not isolated either in Suriname or Barbados, many of them may have interacted with the local community, so we treat them as a separate cohort as opposed to treating an asymptomatic person in TT.”
He also stated that the contingent from Barbados, who returned on April 21, would be swabbed and tested on Sunday as they were nearing the end of their 14-day quarantine period. Hopefully they would get results by Monday.
“Let’s keep our fingers crossed that everything goes well and these 33 persons can go back home to their homes and back to their communities.”
Deyalsingh added that the 11 Cuban nurses who were to be joining TT in the fight against covid19 arrived on Friday. He said, applying the same policy as with the Barbados and Suriname groups, they would be quarantined for two weeks and once they were cleared they would be deployed where they were needed.
These nurses are specialist ICU nurses because in TT we have a shortage of that skill so they are not taking the jobs of TT nurses. What we are doing in the interim is also training our local nurses in ICU management.”