PUBLIC Services Association (PSA) head Watson Duke has called on Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh on Friday to develop quarantine structures on Nelson Island to deal with the coronavirus.
Duke argued: “In the 18th century (sic) British people had a high sense of containing diseases. It had immigrants coming back to our country. They came with smallpox and measles, they held them on Nelson Island. They were treated and only then they were brought across.
"Why don’t the Minister of Health think about fixing Nelson Island so that anyone who contract the virus here can go to Nelson Island?”
On Thursday, the World Health Organisation declared the virus an international emergency. TT imposed a two-week travel restriction on people coming from China.
Speaking to workers from the Airports Authority, Immigration and Custom Excise and Civil Aviation Authority at Piarco, Duke said although it is a harsh suggestion, it is something the Government should consider.
“There is no cure for the coronavirus," he said. "Once you have it, you have to keep it. It is said to create a vaccine it would take years to create one.
“This is not a normal virus. With HIV there is almost a cure for it. Cancer, people can feel proud because it is handled well.
"But this coronavirus there is no cure. Therefore it is nothing to play with.”
Duke told the workers once someone is coming into the country, they should be quarantined inside the country but should be taken to Nelson Island immediately.
He said China built a hospital in six days to quarantine affected people.
“In France they quarantine people who come from China for 14 days. Australia has an island called Christmas Island, which was used as a detention centreup to 2018. They are now moving people who have interacted with people from China or may have travelled to China to the island.
“Yesterday it was 17 countries. The latest information is now 18 countries affected with the virus. Yesterday there were 6,000 cases. It is now more than 7,000 cases. Three-quarters of those cases are in China. In Hong Kong they are not taking no chances,” Duke said.
He told the workers not to underestimate the situation. He also called on the m to stop working if they were not given the relevant equipment.
“Do not use normal dust masks, because the virus can live outside the body for five days. Have you all been given the N95 face mask, proper gloves or Lysol spray? The normal dust masks look good, but cannot handle vigorous activities. You can play mas with the normal dust mask, you can play the fool with that. But do not work or try to fight the virus with that.
“For example, let’s look at condoms. There are different types, and based on the type you use it can protect you. If you want to protect yourself, don’t look for something nice, but something that can handle vigorous activities.”
Duke said the N95 respirator is specially made to keep various types of virus from entering a person’s system.
He told the workers the only protection they have is zero tolerance.
“The Health Minister is fooling you and he is being careless. He could not care less about your health. What we suggest is hard, but this is the only way we could take – zero tolerance.
“You all are at the heart of it. This virus is going to come to TT and they are going to keep it hush-hush because doctors have an oath, they cannot create panic. If there is no mask, no training, no Lysol, you should not be working. "Let Young and Deyalsingh come up here and distribute all the safety gear,” Duke said.
Duke said he had tried several times to contact Minister of National Security Stuart Young and Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh but had been unsuccessful.