Dr Carissa Etiene, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), is asking people not to relax measures against covid19 during Christmas.
In the last weekly virtual media conference of 2021, Etienne said Trinidad and Tobago remains one of the most affected countries and had reached its highest weekly number of cases to date.
Etienne answered several questions about the relaxation of measures in TT and its relationship with the increase in cases and deaths.
She said the Christmas festivities should be cautious and people should pay attention to health measures and get vaccinated.
"When measures are made more flexible, we must be careful. Avoid closed places with little ventilation and close contact, because there is an opportunity for infections to increase," said Etienne.
In the last week, the Americas reported more than 926,056 infections, an increase of 18.4 per cent in relation to previous weeks, with the US and Canada experiencing an increase.
Etienne said since the beginning of the pandemic more than 98 million people have been infected and more than 2.3 million have died.
“Hospitals were under great demand, our healthcare systems have been put to the test, but we have protected millions of people from the worst aspects of this virus," she said.
More than 1.3 billion vaccines have been provided this year. with 56 per cent of the population fully vaccinated. thanks to the efforts of countries and the support of vaccine donors.
She said there are some important drugs in the last stages of analysis at the moment which could support the measures against covid19 by 2022.
“We must be ready to deploy these tools once they are on the market, everyone working together so that everyone can access these drugs,” Etienne said.
Dr Jarbas Barbosa, deputy director of PAHO, said regarding vaccines in children, each country is doing analyses and evaluations according to the recommendations of the manufacturers and it is the authorities who must decide whether to start these vaccinations or not.
Dr Sylvain Aldighieri, incident manager of PAHO said thanks to laboratories worldwide working through a genomic surveillance network, the omicron variant has been detected in nine countries in the region: US, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Brazil, Bermuda and TT, in all these cases as a result of travel.