Update: No State of Emergency, prison population reduction and 1,000 tests per day

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“If I have a problem, as a public officer and prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, it has to be that I have this confidence,” said Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, “that the vast majority of our people are right thinking and reasonable people and will understand—once they are informed and told the truth in the most transparent way…”

The following are the highlights from today’s press conference:

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
(Copyright Parliament.org)

(Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley)

  • The Attorney General and Judiciary are to look into reducing the prison population, since overcrowding could lead to infections. This will apply to inmates at Remand Yard—those who are non-violent/could not make bail—and other categories.
  • Citizens urged to refrain from exercising outdoors, since this could contribute to Covid-19 spread.
  • Systems have to be put in place to manage gatherings at banks, supermarkets and markets.
  • There will be no State of Emergency to manage Covid-19, although more interventions will be put in place if needed.

(Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram)

  • There are 89 positive cases with five deaths and one discharged patient.
  • At Couva, there are 75 positive patients: two in ICU (one intubated/on a ventilator and one stable), 14 In High Dependency Unit (13 stable and one closely monitored for possible ICU admission), and 59 with mild symptoms. The Health Ministry is looking at alternative locations to house the 59 mild patients.
  • At Scarborough, there is one patient in ICU, who is intubated and on a ventilator.
  • At Caura, all 5 positive patients are stable.
  • At Balandra quarantine facility, there are 22 persons with two who displayed symptoms tested and in isolation.
Photo: A billboard is installed on an apartment building in Cape Town, South Africa on 25 March 2020 before the country of 57 million people goes on a nationwide lockdown for 21 days to fight the spread of the new coronavirus.
(Copyright AP Photo/Nardus Engelbrecht)

(Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh)

  • Five elderly citizens with pre-existing conditions died as a result of Covid-19.
  • Reiterated plea for people to stay home, especially the 19,000 nationals who returned home before the borders closed.
  • Home-care Guidelines on Covid-19 to be circulated to the population.
  • There is no shortage of medicines in the system, except for two items where there is a global shortage. The regular hospital system remains operational with clinics continuing.
  • There are no restrictions on Covid-19 patients using their phones to communicate with the outside world.
  • Health Ministry hopes to conduct 1,000 Covid-19 tests a day, which will be validated by CARPHA. The bulk of these tests will be conducted by the North Central Regional Authority, MRFTT and the South-West Regional Health Authority.
  • Covid-19 hotline 800-WELL is inundated with calls and an app should be launched to screen possible patients.
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