Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has 48 hours to provide immigration and customs workers with N95 respirator masks to protect them from the potential of contracting the coronavirus.
At a press conference at PSA office, Abercromby Street in Port of Spain on Wednesday, Public Service Association (PSA) president Watson Duke said if workers aren't properly equipped to limit the spread of the virus from visitors, he will meet with immigration workers on Friday to discuss their next move.
He said Immigration and Customs are where visitors interact with the first line of local workers whose lives could be at risk of becoming the first coronavirus victims in this country.
"What they have now is a Cepep mask. It is not a mask that can prevent droplets and particle matter from entering your respiratory system. It is not a mask that can prevent you from contacting diseases.
"It would be a case of neglect, a case of misbehaviour in public office if he (Minister Deyalsingh) doesn't listen and implement it. I am giving him 48 hours. Within that time I want every immigration officer, every custom officer at all ports of entry to be given on of these masks (N95 respirator) and we want the high-end version," Duke demanded.
He asked government to consider the close relationship between TT and China and see the urgent need to improve biosecurity measures at international ports.
"We want to know if the minister of health or the minister of security is responsible for biosecurity. Tomorrow, a plane will land at ANR Robinson Airport and scores of Chinese will be on that plane. We are convinced the people of China are taking all the precautions they can to ensure it doesn't spread. But just peradventure, one of these people who have the virus lands in Tobago airport, how do we protect our customs and immigration officers," Duke asked.