Hinds: Other restrictions may be lifted when SoE ends

WE'VE DONE ALL WE CAN: National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds speaking at a press conference at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain on Monday. PHOTO BY ROGER JACOB -
WE'VE DONE ALL WE CAN: National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds speaking at a press conference at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain on Monday. PHOTO BY ROGER JACOB -

THE end of the state of emergency (SoE) on November 29, may see other public health restrictions being lifted, National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds said on Monday.

This despite public health officials expressing worry over a new surge in infections and deaths.

On Saturday, the Prime Minister confirmed the SoE will not be extended and when it ends, so to will the 10 pm to 5 am curfew.

Speaking at a media briefing on Monday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port of Spain, Hinds, when asked about health regulations that saw closing times for businesses adjusted prior to the SoE, said such regulations may also be removed.

“The government has to be as flexible and as dynamic as the circumstances that are around us. As we said from the very start, we are guided by the science. And we are also guided by observing the experiences of others in other parts of the world. As we stand today, it is the view of the government that we can remove those or we can live without those restrictions.”

Apart from the SoE, there are restrictions on public gatherings, which remain at 10 per group. Beaches and rivers remain closed, places of worship are at 25 per cent capacity and operate for 90 minutes per service.

The implementation of safe zones have seen movie theatres, water parks, restaurants and bars opened but only to vaccinated patrons. Children, who presently can't be vaccinated, are not allowed in the safe zones. Schools are expected to be opened to all from January while forms four to six students are presently allowed at school whether vaccinated or not.

Hinds said government is taking note of the spread of the delta variant, and the death toll reaching in the teens on some days. However, he said enough has been done to inform the population on the benefits of getting vaccinated and the rest is now up to them.

“We have spent hours each day almost, even at the level of the prime ministership, talking to the people. We always have to balance between lives and livelihoods. We kept that balance, we would like in that balance to open the economy because that is having an impact on the people in the country as well.”

Hinds said there are countries with a vaccinated population of 80 per cent and above which have completely re-opened their economy but with less than half of TT's population vaccinated, it is now up to individuals to make a decision to impact the country.

“We believe that we have done enough and we continue to do all that we could. We always said that once these restrictions come down, and there's little or less societal response to the vaccine, thereafter it will be up to you as an individual.

"The statistics are showing that 98 per cent of those that end up in the now filled ICU and eventually die are unvaccinated. It is a personal choice and we have done all that we reasonably could,” Hinds said.

He added that the police executive has assured him that they are ready for the increased public mobility once health restrictions are removed.

He said while the criminal elements wait to breathe, the police are anticipating the backlash from this freedom and will implement plans to address any "anti-social behaviour."


"Hinds: Other restrictions may be lifted when SoE ends"

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