THE Prime Minister was confident the Government will oversee the proper distribution of a covid19 vaccine to priority groups in TT in the same way it has been in ensuring the safe return home of nationals during the pandemic.
He made this comment in the House of Representatives on Friday, before National Security Minister Stuart Young announced that 1,995 nationals returned home between August 10 and November 13. Young indicated that during this same period, there were 4,705 applications to enter TT.
Given the fluidity of developments with covid19, Young said he would not want to guess how many applications were pending. After Young made these statements, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh disclosed that 59 nationals, who returned home between August 10 and November 9, tested positive for covid19.
Asked by Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal about Government's plans to administer a covid19 vaccine, Dr Rowley declared, "The outstanding competence of this Government in dealing with covid19 will apply to the vaccination programme."
In keeping with World Health Organization protocols, Rowley said those who are most exposed to the virus and most need the vaccine, will receive it first. He reiterated that the priority groups in this regard are all frontline workers (including health care givers), people over 60 years, people with co-morbidities (such as diabetes and hypertension) and people with immuno-compromised conditions such as cancer.
Rowley also said the criteria for granting exemptions to nationals who want to return home has not changed. "Applications are still considered on a case by case basis." Considerations for exemptions include when did the national apply to return; is the person elderly or has medical issues; are there families with small children seeking to return; are the applicants professionals or students and whether the application falls under government emergencies, exigencies or repatriation.
Rowley reiterated that state-supervised quarantine facilities have been increased and, over and above the free quarantine given to some returning nationals, others who are able to pay for quarantine in designated facilities are allowed to do so.
He reminded MPs that the first consideration was given to people stranded outside of TT when the borders were closed in April to prevent the spread of covid19. Rowley said consideration is now being given to people who want to come home, including those wishing to return for Christmas.