DID the Government flip-flop on the issue of testing the dead for covid19, the UNC asked in a statement on Thursday, reacting to the Ministry of Health’s earlier daily briefing on the pandemic?
The party alleged there had been “mixed messages and disinformation” from the Government.
It said numerous calls to do more tests in line with global best practice to find the extent of the virus locally had been met with empty assurances and dismissal by government officials.
The UNC said that in March Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar had urged posthumous testing of people who died from flu-like symptoms, as the fight against covid19 needs accurate and timely data, but the Government had dismissed this idea as too dangerous and risky.
After Thursday’s Ministry of Health media briefing, the UNC said in a release. “In a remarkable flip-flop today, the nation is being told ‘The Forensic Sciences Centre (FSC) was actually sending testing all along to CARPHA’ after stating publicly that this was not the policy by local authorities.
“Is it that the FSC was sending samples unbeknownst to the Government and the CMO (Chief Medical Officer)? Were the posthumous samples always included in the ‘samples tested’ data set? Did the posthumous numbers just appear today?”
The UNC said this latest government statement raised more questions than answers.
“Is it government incompetence or blatant dishonesty when it comes to reporting to the nation on the scope of testing?”
The UNC said the sudden appearance of posthumous results put the credibility of officials into question, and had ramifications for all data presented so far.
“Our testing numbers remain lower than the international standards.
“In a time of a public health crisis the nation is being given politically convenient data rather than all of the information we need to be well informed and therefore better able to protect ourselves and our families. While we may be fighting an invisible enemy, we do not need to do so blindly.”
Newsday was unable to contact Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh or CMO Dr Roshan Parasram for a response.
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