Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley outlawed Christmas parties within the public sector and kept a ban on the consumption of alcohol at public places, while contact team sport is also forbidden.
The country’s international borders also remain closed, with the Ministry of National Security mandated to offer travel exemptions for persons wishing to enter the country.
There was a reprieve for hunters who will be allowed to hunt again, with registration scheduled to start on Monday. There will be no extension to the hunting season, which should end next February.
Rowley also promised an additional TT$10 million for employees at bars and restaurants who either lost their jobs or suffered reduced income. Proprietors can also apply for small business support while another TT$20 million will go towards social services, including assistance for self-employed citizens who lost income over the period.
But, once more, the prime minister sounded a cautious note, even as chief medical officer Dr Roshan Parasram said hospitals are operating at roughly 13 per cent occupancy while Tobago has not had a new case in 25 days.
At present, there are 45 hospitalised patients with just under 500 positive persons in home quarantine.
“There is to be no state-sponsored Christmas party in the public sector,” said Rowley, who asked private companies to follow suit.
Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh concurred.
“[…] ‘Paranging’ house to house is dangerous,” said Deyalsingh. “[…] Let us spend a quiet Christmas, so all of us can be around for the 2021 Christmas.”
Rowley claimed that most villas in Tobago are already booked for the Christmas/New Year period, as Trinidadians plan for vacation within their country’s borders. However, while that is good for the Tobago economy, the prime minister warned that it is important for travellers to follow health protocols.
“It would not take very many mistakes of misconduct to make Tobago highly infected,” said Rowley.
Rowley said his government has not yet decided on whether the January 2021 school term would begin fully online or with some learning in schools. He said an announcement on a possible blended education curriculum for the new term will be made after the Christmas season and would depend on the infection rate during the vacation.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 63 new cases today with no deaths. There have been 6,324 positive cases since the onset of the pandemic from 35,964 patient tests.
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.