CANCEL all travel plans in the foreseeable future and avoid unnecessary gatherings, National Security Minister Stuart Young has advised as the Government seeks to stem the spread of the covid19.
Speaking at a media conference at the Ministry of Health, Park Street, Port of Spain, Young said social responsibility is needed and advised the country to restrict overseas visits to emergency and essential travel.
“The Government’s position is a very clear position and that is not being understood. Vacation is not essential or emergency travel. The answer is cancel, not reconsider. Cancel.”
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh who had previously responded to the question of travel restriction for the upcoming Easter vacation said travel should be rescheduled.
Deyalsingh said: “Airports and cruise ships are not where you want to be right now. Cancelling travel is a very good idea, visit the Pitch Lake, visit Knolly’s Tunnel. Go down the island. No! No! Don’t go down the islands. We need to reconsider our lifestyle for the foreseeable future until scientists understand covid19, until we have a treatment, until we have a vaccine.”
“What will cripple us is the share volume, you don’t want 500,000 people with covid19. That is the issue, reconsider Easter travels. Reconsider going on a plane. Do not go on a cruise. Put off, reschedule, cancel any travel plans your health is more important at this time until we understand more until there is a vaccine or a cure.”
Asked if the Government will ban flights coming from the UK, as was done in Jamaica and the US on Saturday, Young said there is constant discussion on the issues of travel restrictions and the ban.
While not yet implemented, he said, it is not off the table as the situation is fluid and the Government will be taking advice from the medical experts.
“We are urging people do not travel unless absolutely necessary,” Young said adding that the he had to make a judgement call on Saturday to stop people from getting on planes to come to TT.
“I gave authorization for the blocking of a particular plane from coming to TT. These are decisions we will take to protect TT. The message is personal responsibility.”
Young said while the Government recognised that there are people are trying to make their way home but "people need to understand their exposure and risk factor associated right now with travel." He reiterated that travel in and out the country should only be done if absolutely necessary or an emergency.