MINISTER of National Security Stuart Young was unfazed by reports of a prisoner officer contracting covid19, and he vowed to keep the prisons free of the virus. He was replying to reporters’ questions at a briefing on Sunday at his Port of Spain office. On Saturday, Prisons Commissioner Dennis Pulchan said the Prison Administration Building in Port of Spain will stay shut until Tuesday for sanitising because the officer, who is on leave, had visited there last week.
On Sunday, the Ministry of Health said seven more people tested positive for covid19, with previous reports of four new cases on Saturday and five on Friday.
Young said new regulations were drafted on Saturday to limit gatherings to ten people, down from 25. He said on getting news of the sick prison officer on Saturday, he suggested to Pulchan to order the staff of the Prison Administration Building to all stay home rather than congregate at the Golden Grove prison as first planned.
“Let the Ministry of Health do their work. Let them do their contact tracing. Let’s keep the prison safe.” He said last Friday he attended the largest passing-out parade of the Prison Service.
“I want to keep the prisons free of covid. We’ll do all that we have to.”
Young said a fire officer had also tested positive last week, while a number of police officers had been in touch with the Police Commissioner even as the police building at Riverside Plaza was shut down to be sanitised.
Asked if the outbreak could delay the general election, he said that was a matter for the Prime Minister.
“That has not arisen as yet, but we will continue to be guided by the experts.”
Newsday asked if the current cluster of outbreaks was due to illegal immigrants, given the fact of TT’s population being otherwise isolated from people legally entering TT, plus the virus having a 14-day incubation period.
“Well, that is speculation. I don’t buy that speculation. Understand this is a new virus, globally. You have six months of this virus being here. You have different people reacting differently. “I’m not a doctor so save that for the doctors tomorrow morning and they will deal with those. I’m not going to deal with any more covid-related questions. This is not a press conference for covid.”