TTPS start home surveillance as Covid-19 positive persons breach quarantine, 108 new cases today

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith revealed today that the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) will utilise its fleet of 85 Emergency Response Patrol (ERP) vehicles as well as patrols in all nine divisions to ensure Covid-19 patients do not violate home quarantine orders.

The measure was announced today by the TTPS, after complaints that positive persons were not following orders from the Ministry of Health.

Photo: Police officers applaud the hard work of the country’s nurses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
(via TTPS)

“It has come to the attention of the TTPS that persons who have tested positive for the virus and placed in home quarantine, have been breaking the Public Health Ordinance Regulations,” stated the TTPS release. “[Commissioner Griffith] pointed out that there were reports of Covid-19 positive patients leaving their homes and going out, either to supermarkets, pharmacies, shops, gas stations, and restaurants.

“He said there are also reports that some of these patients have been entertaining family and friends at their homes, although they were advised to stay in isolation.”

As of this morning, the Ministry of Health announced there were 1,590 persons in home isolation.

The decision to allow positive persons to stay at home unless urgent medical attention is necessary was taken by chief medical officer Dr Roshan Parasram on 26 August, as the spike in infections meant the hospitals were in danger of hitting capacity.

A person found to have breached the Quarantine Act can be sanctioned with a fine of TT$6,000 or six months in prison.

Photo: A Covid-19 positive person in home quarantine.

The Ministry of Health announced two deaths this evening—an elderly male and elderly female, both with co-morbidities—which took the death toll to 60 since the onset of the novel coronavirus. There were 38 deaths in September alone.

At present, there are 1,905 active cases of Covid-19 in the twin island republic with 108 positives today, which were based on samples taken between 4 and 16 September. There have been 3,434 positive cases over the course of the pandemic.

The TTPS is now set to step up its surveillance.

“The TTPS will monitor the homes of the patients, based on the listing providing by the Ministry of Health,” stated the release. “He said the ERP officers will pay close attention to these patients in all nine Police Divisions. The police officers will visit the homes.

“The patient will come out with his/her mask, identify himself/herself, and then go back indoors. The officers will not be going into the homes.

Image: Coping with Covid-19.

“[…] Similar patrols, which are being carried out in major countries, including North America and Europe, have proven to be an effective deterrent in keeping persons in quarantine.”

The list of persons surveilled, according to the TTPS, ‘does not include those who are in quarantine awaiting results, having been a primary or secondary contact’.

Trinidad and Tobago vs Covid-19 (in numbers)

Local infections of Covid-19 in first wave (27 March to 26 April)

  • 50 cases in 31 days with 8 deaths.

Local infections of Covid-19 in second wave (20 July to 17 August)

  • 436 cases in 29 days with 4 deaths.

Local infections of Covid-19 since gov’t roll-backs (18 August to 13 September)

  • 2,350 cases in 26 days with 41 deaths.

Local infections of Covid-19 since renewed roll-backs (14 September to 17 September)

  • 393 cases in 4 days with 7 deaths.
Photo: Can’t be too careful…
A statute of iconic chutney singer Sundar Popo in Debe is given the protection of a face mask during the Covid-19 pandemic on 23 April 2020.
(Copyright Ghansham Mohammed/GhanShyam Photography/Wired868)

The Ministry of Health reminds members of the public to adhere to the ‘new normal’ and:

  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when you go out in public;
  • Keep your distance from others (six feet);
  • Stay home if you are ill;
  • Clean then sanitise surfaces, such as tabletops, door knobs and cell phones;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitiser;
  • Cough into a tissue or into the crook of your elbow;
  • Avoid touching your face.

Persons are urged to call Covid-19 hotline numbers: 877-WELL, 87-SWRHA or 877-3742 (Trinidad) and 800-HEAL (Tobago) if they feel unwell; or they can report a possible breach of Covid-19 regulations by calling 555, or sending messages—inclusive of photographs and videos—to the Police App or via Whats App to 482-GARY.

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  1. Maybe a week or two too late, but very necessary. Does the TTPS really have the resources to properly effect this though? There is definitely an opportunity to deploy technology here.

  2. The confusion over this home quarantining thing gets bizarre by the minute. I would think with new cases spiralling this initiative or one even more rigorous would’ve been instituted some time aback. This was even more imperative since persons had started lying and being rude to contact tracers in an attempt to trick the system. Jamaica a couple months ago was tracking the movement of visitors and other persons associated with Covid19 through an app placed on their phone. I am not even confident the police has the resources to effect this efficiently.

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