MINISTER of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said the use of public pools for any purpose remains off limits, in keeping with the covid19 protocols. Deyalsingh was speaking at the ministry’s virtual press conference on Monday morning.
“For the purposes of controlling and preventing the spread of covid19, it shall be an offence during the period specified in the regulation to be found by any beach, bay, river, stream, pond, spring or similar body of water including the waters around any island off the coasts of TT or any public pool – those are the key words – for recreational purposes,” he said. Deyalsingh said if the public still requires further clarification on the use of public pools, it has to be addressed with the attorney general.
Deyalsingh later said TT is not under any lockdown as he sought to clear up misconceptions of covid19 restrictions. He said people are free to move about and conduct their activities, but must do safely and by adhering to certain well-established rules.
“There is no lockdown in TT right now. People are free to move around, there is no state of emergency, there is no lockdown, there is no curtailment on people’s civil liberties and the constitution is up and running. Let me make that absolutely clear.
“What we have are certain restrictions on certain activities that pose a challenge to the health care workers. So, we do have some restrictions on churches, on places of worship, nurseries and pre-schools, but there is no lockdown.”
The minister also said he supports the Public Transport Services Corporation’s (PTSC) request to implement temperature testing of passengers before they board buses.
“The Ministry of Health stands ready to support any agency with protocols and we will work with PTSC if we are asked to,” he said. On Friday, General Secretary of the National Trade Union Centre of TT (NATUC) Michael Annisette spoke on behalf of PTSC workers, alongside the Transport and Industrial Workers Union (TIWU) at a press conference.
Annissette said while temperature testing was being done at the terminal at the beginning of the pandemic in March, PTSC management made the “unilateral” decision that there was no need to continue.
ALL NOT WELL
He also said the public should not compare Europe’s response to the pandemic to TT. “I would advise caution on how we deal with Sweden and I would advise you to please research from reputable websites what Sweden is facing.”
Sunday Newsday reported Sweden’s approach to the pandemic from the perspective of a TT national living in that country. The TT national reported a more laxed approach to covid19 restrictions, where businesses continued to operate with strict observance of social distancing protocols.
“People described Sweden’s covid19 strategy as ‘radical’ as the authorities did not call for a lockdown.” It said Sweden’s approach to the pandemic focused on protecting at risk groups, particularly the elderly communities. The TT resident said regulations in Sweden are not restrictive so, he believes, people do not feel the need to rebel against them.
On whether the ministry will consider restructuring covid19 protocols, Deyalsingh said, “I will not say what Sweden is facing...but all is not well in Europe.”