Covid19 in Trinidad and Tobago: A timeline
The covid19 pandemic has irreparably reshaped the world. Some countries are now in fourth and fifth waves, battling the omicron variant. Newsday takes a look back and maps the timeline of the covid19 virus in Trinidad and Tobago.
For more information on each, click the date which leads to full Newsday stories.
March 12: First recorded case of covid19 in TT. It is reported that it was a 52-year-old man who arrived from Switzerland and who started exhibiting symptoms on March 12, 2020.
March 12: To address rising covid19 cases and to ensure that TT's health system did not buckle under the weight of the pandemic, the Government announced a parallel healthcare system.
March 12: Supermarkets adapted to pandemic change; implementing sinks, soap, sanitisers and thermometers.
March 13: The Prime Minister announced all schools, universities and learning centres closed for a week in the first instance to slow the spread of the virus.
March 16: The Government announced TT’s borders closed to all non-nationals for 14 days after five imported cases of the virus were reported. The Prime Minister also announced all bars closed.
March 25: TT marked its first covid19 death: an elderly man with a pre-existing medical condition.
March 26: Government called on all non-essential workers to stay at home unless it was necessary to go out. The measures were to stay in place until April 15 initially.
In fact, the stay-at-home measures lasted until May 15.
March 31: Ministry of Health held its first virtual press conference. It then had updates three times a week or as the situation developed. Since the pandemic began waning, the pressers have been reduced.
March 31: The Government restricted public gatherings to no more than five people.
May 9: The Prime Minister announced a phased reopening of the country, which began on May 10.
May 10-23: Restaurants and roadside street vending were allowed to reopen for business, but a ban remained on in-house dining. These businesses were to close by 8 pm.
Outdoor exercise was also allowed once more, but people were required to maintain the six-foot distance rule and not congregate.
Three manufacturing businesses were allowed to restart: West Indian Tobacco Company, Trinidad Cement Ltd and Nu Iron.
May 24-June 6: The Prime Minister allowed the reopening of the manufacturing sector and the resumption of public-sector construction.
Public transport was allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity.
June 7 – 20: All public services were to resume; flexi-time and alternate-day office working were considered. Public transport was allowed to carry 75 per cent capacity.
August 16: The Prime Minister announced mandatory mask-wearing for the entire country.
August 29: It was announced that children will resume school virtually.
Although TT was praised for its handling of the pandemic globally, when cases began to rise sharply again, the country entered a second lockdown in May 2021.
February 17: TT administered its first covid19 vaccine, to a healthcare worker.
April 27: The Supermarket Association of Trinidad and Tobago allowed a one-person-per-household limit to reduce crowding in supermarkets.
April 29: The Prime Minister announced the closure of several sectors, including bars, restaurants, malls, churches, gyms, casinos, cinemas and theatres.
May 7: The Prime Minister introduced stricter covid19 measures to stop the spread of the virus. He announced the restriction of movement as well as non-essential activity.
May 15: Government implemented a state of emergency (SoE). A 9 pm-5 am curfew was also implemented. The SoE was extended for a further three months, to end, tentatively, in August.
May 31: TT collected 10,000 covid19 vaccine doses from Grenada.
July 13: 800,000 doses of Astra Zeneca covid19 vaccines arrived in TT.
August 11: TT confirmed its first two cases of the deadlier delta variant.
August 24: TT neared 500,000 vaccinated people from the first batch of covid19 vaccine doses.
August 29: By August 31, TT had reached its initial goal of having 188,000 people fully vaccinated against the covid19 virus.
October 11: Government started its TT Safe Zone initiative, which saw the reopening of bars, restaurants, cinemas and other spaces to vaccinated people.
November 17: The Government ended the SoE.
November 26: Government issued travel ban on eight African countries after the emergence of the highly transmissible omicron variant. That ban was lifted on December 19.
November 28: TT crossed 2,000 deaths from covid19-related complications.
December 13: TT recorded its first case of the omicron variant.
December 13: Government began its covid19 vaccination booster programme in face of new variant.
December 13: TT was 44th in the world in covid19 death/infection ratio.
December 18: TT had three omicron covid19 cases.
December 19: Government told unvaccinated public sector workers to get vaccinated or stay home with no pay.
December 19: Government announced reopening of beaches from 5 am-noon starting December 20, while rivers, ponds and waterfalls remained closed.
December 23: Government announced a mega-storage facility for covid19 bodies, set to open in early January.
December 24: TT recorded its highest death toll in a day, 37.
December 26: December noted as the worst month of third covid19 wave.
December 30: Government braced for covid19 surge in January.
January 6, 2022: Public servants trickled into vaccination sites ahead of the government’s deadline of January 14 in a move to make public-sector offices safe zones.
January 14: Government lifted ban on open-pyre cremations for covid19 deaths. It was banned in early 2020 after the first local case was detected.
January 16: Government announced extension of vaccination deadline for public-sector workers to February 17.
January 16: The Prime Minister appointed five-member medical team to examine the level of care in the country’s healthcare system, including covid19 deaths, and report to the government.
January 23: Stakeholders welcomed the Government's announcement of Carnival safe zones.
January 24: The Ministry of Education announced February 7 return to school for forms 1-3, standard 5
January 26: Government announced new Roxborough hospital was available to provide additional covid19 resources in Tobago.
January 26: Government announced the opening of beaches from 5 am-6 pm.
February 6: Education Division of the Tobago House of Assembly said Tobago was ready for the return of forms 1-3, standard 5 students.
February 19: Government announced unvaccinated children under 12 were allowed into safe zones, but must be accompanied by vaccinated adults.
February 19: The Government also announced that it had reached its vaccine milestone of having 50 per cent of the population fully vaccinated against covid19.
February 21: Beaches and rivers were fully opened.
March 4: The Prime Minister announced TT's transition from covid19 pandemic phase to endemic phase.
March 4: Government no longer pursued legislation that could be viewed as making covid19 vaccination mandatory for public-sector workers.
March 6: Government announced the decommissioning of the parallel healthcare system, which began with the Point Fortin Hospital being fully ready for handing over by March 12.
March 9: Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh announced the reopening of daycare centres.
March 9: Government announced a scientific study to determine how many people in the population developed antibodies against covid19.
March 10: THA Secretary of Health, Wellness and Social Protection Dr Faith BYisrael announced the resumption of elective services at the Scarborough General Hospital.
"Covid19 in Trinidad and Tobago: A timeline"