Journalists in danger of contact spread, Young drops Alleyne hint as T&T’s Covid-19 cases climb to 60

Gems at Lajoya

“[The threat of] contact spread is real and amongst you all,” said National Security Minister Stuart Young, in response to a question about flamboyant Crime Watch host Ian Alleyne.

Yesterday, Alleyne shared two emotional videos—one filmed by an unidentified person and the other by his young son—which claimed that he tested positive for Covid-19. The television personality admitted to travelling to Miami on 13 March and returning to Trinidad two days later.

Photo: Crime Watch television host Ian Alleyne declares himself to be Covid-19 positive in a video at his home on 24 March 2020.

Alleyne claimed he did not self-quarantine, even though he travelled after the World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus spread to be at pandemic proportions, and after Trinidad and Tobago recorded its first positive case.

“The virus does not care about the status you may think you have,” said Young.

Trinidad and Tobago now has 60 positive cases from 370 tests.

“Cases 58 and 59 have a history of recent travel,” stated a Ministry of Health release. “Case 60 is an additional positive case from the group of 68 nationals who returned from the cruise.”

The Costa Favolosa cruise is now responsible for 44 of the country’s positive readings, with more than half of its reported 73 local passengers testing positive.

There was some concern amongst journalists and the wider public that Alleyne could potentially have a similar effect on the country’s healthcare system, due to the sheer number of people he interacts with as a result of his job.

Photo: A nurse in protective gear tests for the Covid-19 virus at a drive-through location at Bryant Health’s LifePointe campus in Lincoln, Nebraska on 24 March 2020.
Testing was by appointment only. (Copyright AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Chief medical officer Dr Roshan Parasram refused to ‘out’ a patient though, even one whose first response to his positive reading was—not to head straight to quarantine—but to shoot two videos to scoop the nation on his own health.

“Patient confidentiality takes precedence,” said Parasram, who advised journalists or anyone else who felt they were in contact with someone who is unwell to call 877-WELL.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh mirrored Parasram’s stance.

“The day I break that sacred rule, I become a threat to the healthcare system,” said Deyalsingh. “[…] Patient confidentiality is the bedrock of our health system and I take that very seriously.”

Young is neither a doctor nor a member of the country’s healthcare system, though. And he essentially confirmed the question on everyone’s minds since last night.

“I am not talking about misinformation here,” said Young, when one journalist asked whether Alleyne’s video was a hoax and open to punishment. “[…] I am talking about a real live situation amongst you all that has presented itself… Read between the lines.”

Photo: An employee dons a bio-hazard protective suits at the Caura Hospital.
(Courtesy NCRHA)

In a long-winded sermon about the closure of Trinidad and Tobago’s borders, Young did offer a glimmer of hope for 33 citizens stranded in Barbados, who tried to return home from the United Kingdom after the borders were shut.

At present, the Barbadian contingent are in a mandatory 14 day quarantine. Young suggested that, at the end of that period, Trinidad and Tobago may allow them entry.

“[When that quarantine is over] then we will consider,” said Young. “But we are not sending for them. It will be at their cost.”

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