Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana worried about rise in COVID casesWednesday, April 21, 2021
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC)— Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, Wednesday, defended the decision to increase the restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) saying he trusts the population “will see the need for these actions and undertake to comply”.
Rowley, who is himself in quarantine after having tested for the virus nearly two weeks ago, said in a statement that well before the Easter vacation he had taken the time “to raise with the national community the coming of a period of extended holidays and weekends centred around the Easter vacation, other holidays and religious celebrations.
“I appealed for a national recognition of our coming vulnerability and asked that even as we were getting tired of the stresses that there were dangers if we relaxed and benefits to be had if we complied with an improved sense of personal responsibility. “
Health authorities said over the past 24 hours, the country had recorded 171 new cases of the virus as well as three deaths. The number of active cases has risen to 834, while the death toll is 157.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, who announced a series of new measures including a ban on public gatherings for entertainment and concert as well as a 25 per cent reduction in persons attending places of worship, said also that the public service would revert to 50 per cent on a rotational basis
Epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds told a news conference Wednesday that there had been a “surge in the rate of transmission,” adding that the increase in cases can be seen across the entire country. He said also that in some areas there has been an “explosion as compared to other areas”.
Rowley said that in response to the “unwelcome rising numbers of infected persons and those needing hospital care I have authorized some further restrictions on the exposure and movements of the population. I trust that you will see the need for these actions and undertake to comply.
“From the very onset of this pandemic, we as a nation took the approach that we will rely on a national cooperating effort to minimize and suppress the virus until it can be overcome. That approach is still valid and I ask fellow citizens to do their individual parts in order to bring us the results we desire.”
The new measures in addition to others announced last week will remain in effect until May 16.
“I am aware that not every citizen will see it this way but what we have to guard against is allowing the circumstances of the pandemic to further destroy us as a people wanting the best for ourselves, our families, our communities and our nation.
“It is in this regard that I reject any attempt to misrepresent the facts and the placing of blame on Tobago for hosting a few thousands who chose to spend their time in that part of the country with family and friends or just strangers enjoying the ambience that exists there,” Rowley said.
He reminded the country that “it is not where you spend your time it is what you do there.
“For those who see political opportunities in these trying circumstances, I want to remind them that even before Easter the areas of spiking community spread were in County Caroni and County Victoria. Subsequently the third most affected zone was St George East.”
Rowley said that the data supplied by the chief medical officer continues to confirm that the areas of accelerating increases of confirmed viral infection continue to be County Caroni, County Victoria and St George East.
“To set about to separate the people of Tobago or their tourism economy for special hatred is misleading and just plain wrong. Against the data set it is unnecessary and purely divisive for politicians with nothing useful to contribute to be trying to establish that our current circumstances are as a result of a successful Easter weekend in Tobago.
“The problem of reduced compliance is all over the country and should be seen as such if we are to rectify the situation and get back to a level that could see us rolling back the recent restrictions,” Prime Minister Rowley told the nation.
In Guyana, Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony says the coronavirus has spread to many villages in West Demerara-Essequibo Islands and Demerara-Mahaica, as the country continues to record increased positive cases.
Hwealth authorities said Region four (Demerara-Mahaica) continues to be the epicentre of the pandemic with the highest numbers recorded according to the ministry's records.
Of the 11,901 confirmed cases up to Monday, the Health Ministry said there have been 1,306 cases in Region Three (West Demerara/Essequibo Islands) and 5,708 in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) since the virus was first detected in Guyana last year March.
Anthony said while there are hotspots the virus is spreading in region three Essequibo Islands – West Demerara and region four Demerara – Mahaica.
“Generally, when we look across the say the East Coast or Georgetown or the East Bank, almost every village, there are one or two cases. Similarly, in Region Three at Tuschen, we have seen more cases but again at different villages across Region Three there are one or two cases that exist,” he said.
The health minister says the spread has registered the need for citizens to continue to obey COVID measures which are being flouted by members of the public.
Meanwhile, Jamaica recorded six more COVID-19 fatalities, pushing the tally to 744 over the past 24 hours.
The deceased are a 41-year-old woman and a 96-year-old man, both from Manchester, a 93-year-old male from Kingston & St Andrew, and three men from St Elizabeth aged 87, 61, and 53. The authorities said two more fatalities are under investigation, moving that figure to 120.
There are 83 new cases with ages ranging from eight months to 93 years, pushing the total to 44,337 with 23,203 being active.
Kingston and St Andrew account for most of the new cases with 17, followed by St Catherine with 13 and then St Ann with 10. At least 299 persons are in hospital with 20 being moderately ill and 29 critically ill. Seventeen persons are in government quarantine, while 31,304 are at home.