In order to keep pace of a large influx of calls to the Ministry of Health's novel coronavirus hotline, an additional eight doctors will be supplied to ensure there is adequate personnel available to take the calls of people who suspect they may be infected with the virus.
The announcement was made on Tuesday by Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh who said since its establishment, the hotline has received over 23,000 calls over a three-day period which has led to 100 referrals to seek medical assistance.
Deyalsingh said the figures were testament to the government's commitment to screening and early detection of coronavirus cases and said a recent shipment of testing kits from China would boost scope of testing and response to the disease.
"These referrals will help us prevent the spread of community infection. Because of the need for the hotline we will be expanding it to 18 doctors within a couple of days to handle more calls and get more genuine referrals so we can test them.
"The 4000 test kits promised to us from China are in the country and that boosts our capacity to do more testing as we said we would. We will now have a special capacity to test health care workers who are on the frontlines of exposure. We are going to start test primary and secondary contacts once we trace them, they will be quarantined."
Deyalsingh said all hospitals and people will be tested based on the World Health Organisation's guidelines on the disease, with additional capacities at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex and at the Trinidad Public Health Lab in Port of Spain.He said within six weeks another machine for covid19 testing would be installed in TT.
National Security Minister Stuart Young also said that an additional 10,000 testing kits were to be ordered to mitigate against shortages in the event of further increases of infections.