TOBAGO CHAMBER of Industry and Commerce head Martin George has renewed his call to have Tobago vaccinated first, in order to "create a bubble" around Tobago and ensure the safe reopening of the island.
He made the statement as he extended thoughts and prayers to the Prime Minister, who has tested positive for covid19.
“We say this not as a means of putting Tobago ahead of Trinidad, but what we are saying is that Tobago has a much smaller population,” George said. “If we can achieve the herd immunity in Tobago it makes it a much safer place and a much safer destination for us all.”
With a population of about 60,000, that would mean TT would need to acquire about 84,000 vaccines to achieve a 70 per cent inoculation of the island.
That, said George, would " make it much safer for people visiting the island and coming to do business. It also allows TT to open up the international borders through Tobago because the population in Tobago would be immunised.”
George also urged visitors to and residents of Tobago to renew their vigilance in adhering to covid19 protocols.
“We are beseeching our business owners and members of the public to comply with the requests.”
But chairman of the Tobago Division of the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce Dianne Hadad said the vaccination process should continue to be for all citizens.
“Everyone should have the opportunity to get vaccinated. Keith Rowley called on everyone to conduct themselves in a particular manner.
"But people have been falling off with cleanliness. They went back to their old habits. I am not seeing people taking sanitisation of their environments seriously. We need to make cleanliness a way of life, not just for covid19.” Hadad said.
She added that she believed Rowley should conduct intense contact tracing to find out what parts of his circle could have been exposed.
Hadad added that while protocols need to be better observed in other areas, Tobago cannot hide from the virus.
“If it is here, then we need to treat with what needs to happen, but it does not mean that we have to hide under a rock. We have to live. The human body can withstand anything through the immune system, we just have to give it the opportunity to do so.”
Asked about visits to Tobago in light of Rowley’s positive test, Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association head Chris James said Tobago would have to “wait and see” if Rowley’s ailment was a sign that more visitors and residents of Tobago had contracted the virus.
“I can’t say how it will affect the hotels at this time.
"We just want to wish him well,” James said.
While he did not have an exact figure for the number of visitors to Tobago over Easter, and in particular the long weekend, he noted the traffic had been “good,” despite some cancellations.
“Up until March 29 we were showing 81 per cent attendance, but I know we had some cancellations. Some people are planning to stay until Saturday, so I won’t have those numbers until next week,” James said.
On Tuesday, the Office of the Prime Minister announced that Rowley tested positive for covid19. The brief said he began having flu-like symptoms on Monday and was subsequently tested. The PM is in isolation and under medical supervision.