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Dear Editor: Plan for citizens returning from China a joke

The following Letter to the Editor was submitted to Wired868 from Mohan Ramcharan in Birmingham, England. In it, he responds to Minister of Health Dr Terrence Deyalsingh’s statement on plans for citizen’s returning from China, where the coronavirus was first detected in December 2019:

Photo: Health Minister Dr Terrence Deyalsingh.  

I have carefully weighed the minister of health’s plans for returning citizens from China, and his statement that ‘nationals who are currently in China are free to return home as the 14-day travel restriction does not apply to them’ and ‘they will be asked to quarantine themselves at home for two weeks—which is the incubation period of the deadly coronavirus— had me in the Twilight Zone for daze (pun intended).

Does Terry really think a Trinidadian will self-quarantine?

Does he really think that they will not expose themselves to immediate and extended family members?

Does he really think they won’t have ‘maccocious’ friends, neighbours and others who will visit even if just to find out how things are in China from someone who was there at Ground Zero?

That particular quarantine effect would be like brown-bagging intestinal gas.

Other countries have set up monitored quarantine centres with medical staff, medical equipment for treatment and with full amenities for those detained. Yes, I use the word detained, because they are legally prevented from exercising their freedom of movement rights.

Remember, freedom of movement is not an unlimited right in Trinidad and Tobago, and the incoming citizens referred to in this letter can be restricted to these centres according to section 7 of the constitution.

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It gets worse, though. Despite a shortage of doctors and nurses, he said: “… a health officer is assigned to each individual and would go in every day to take temperatures and do other checks.”

So, rather than a collected body of patients being treated by a small medical team, we have scattered patients being treated one-to-one. Makes the idea of centralised hospitals obsolete.

He continued: “… with some 34,000 people screened on 457 flights [there is] confidence that T&T was in a position to treat with any suspected cases as four beds are available at the Caura Hospital for quarantine.”

Read that again … carefully! F O U R beds. As in four … less than five.

Trinidad really is a place that if yuh eh laugh, yuh go cry, oui.

About Mohan Ramcharan

Mohan Ramcharan is a Trinidadian living in England, an LLB (Hons) law graduate, systems thinking practitioner, and critical thinker. He is a product of two cultures and strives to be ethical and impartial in his thoughts and actions.

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  1. Informative. I really enjoyed this article.

  2. Hahaha! Right on the BAWL!