Chief Medical Officer: No exodus of Trinis from China

Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram. -
Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram. -

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Roshan Parasram, on Wednesday said, do not expect any mass repatriation of TT citizens from China because of the Wuhan coronavirus.

At Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriation Committee on Wednesday, he said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in touch with those citizens through the consulate.

“We have got no information of any mass of people that want to return, no indication from the ministry that people want to come back.”

However, travellers to TT will generally face some delays at Piarco airport because of increased screening for the virus.

Parasram said, at first only passengers from the US, UK, Canada and Panama were thermally screened for the virus, but now all arrival flights are being screened.

“It is going to slow things down for sure,” said Airports Authority GM Albert Griffith.

“I think it is acceptable.” He aimed to have enough staff for this, he said.

Parasram said each aeroplane’s captain had an onus to not let any ill-looking passenger disembark in TT.

Port Authority CEO Trudy Gill-Conlon said ships are unlikely to bring the virus to TT as their travel time exceeds the 14-day period for a person infected with the virus to show symptoms, during which time they will have had to check in at various other seaports.

Chief Immigration Officer Charmaine Gandhi-Andrews said ships must send passenger and crew details far ahead of their arrival in TT, so reducing the risk of the virus slipping in to TT. “The ship really takes a long time to get here.”

Gandhi-Andrews said even if a traveller from China has two passports, they will be tracked in TT by their personal name record (PNR) and the advanced passenger information systems. “When people arrive in TT they must declare the countries they had visited in the past six weeks.”

Committee member Dr Lackram Bodoe congratulated Parasram on standing his ground before the World Health Organisation for TT to be the third country/territory, after Hong Kong and Russia, to impose a travel ban on China.

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"Chief Medical Officer: No exodus of Trinis from China"

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