Govt urges public: Just stay home

Minister of National Security Stuart Young, right, and Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh at a press briefing at the Ministry of Health on Tuesday. - Vidya Thurab
Minister of National Security Stuart Young, right, and Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh at a press briefing at the Ministry of Health on Tuesday. - Vidya Thurab

In order to control the spread of the coronavirus and reduce the number of infections, Government is urging the public to stay at home and isolate themselves to reduce their chances of being infected or infecting others.

Speaking at a media briefing at the Ministry of Health, Park Street, Port of Spain, on Tuesday, Minister of National Security Stuart Young, called on the public to be responsible, citing the ability of the virus to spread rapidly between people.

"All of these measures by the Minister of Health and others are done to protect the population who are here in TT. If anyone can find a way to get through the barriers we have put up, it compromises the protection we are attempting to put in place.

"The contact spread of this virus is real. In South Korea it was one woman that led to the spread of 80 per cent of the cases. These measures can be easily defeated by people who take decisions to breach what we are asking you to do. Stay at home unless it is essential. If you have to, go to work but limit your social contact."

Citing the rising death toll in Italy and the UK, Young said Government was making every effort to avoid such widespread infections from happening locally.

Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh also called on the public to stay at home using a video of medical workers in the UK to reinforce the idea of isolating themselves to avoid infection.

"The conversation in TT has to be now to stay at home. This is where the cries of the Prime Minister and myself are important. When you stay at home you will prevent community spread.

"Ladies and gentlemen this is not a joke. This is the greatest medical challenge to this generation and possibly the last few generations and the public can help us by staying at home."

Deyalsingh also said the patterns of infection behind the coronavirus were changing as young people who were originally thought to have greater resistance to the virus were now becoming infected in larger numbers more recently.

"When covid19 first started, the theory was young people would not be adversely affected, that led to a ton of irresponsible behaviour from young people across the world.

"What you are seeing now is more and more young people coming down with it (covid19) and being more severely affected. So when dealing with covid19 it is better to assume we don't know and stay home than to think we know and go out into the public."

Responding to questions on issues of self-quarantine Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram said he understood the concerns of Dr Rowley that self-isolation may be difficult in some cases where there is limited space in certain homes.

He said in light of this public buildings such as community centres may be used to isolate people who may be infected with the disease.

"It has been considered at the level of my inter-ministerial committee. We have tiers of self-quarantine and we have looked at, through the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) and the regional corporations, to increase the capacity to have more people in self-quarantine.

"We are quarantining as families in those circumstances, if you have the opportunity to be in a separate space of the house that is good but we are quarantining as a family."


"Govt urges public: Just stay home"

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