Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said that Trinidad and Tobago’s closed borders have ‘saved us’ from having cases of the new UK and South African strains of Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
Speaking at the health ministry’s media conference on Covid-19, Deyalsingh said that the new variants of the virus could impact any decision to reopen the border.
“The new variants… will cause us to reexamine every single thing that we do now because the evidence coming out is that this new variant is 70% more transmissible. Think about what that means in a country that has community spread,” he said. “We will be considering the impact of that new variant in all decisions going forward.”
The Ministry of Health has not yet chosen a vaccine for use in Trinidad and Tobago. Speaking at the health ministry’s Covid-19 update, Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said they had requested more technical information on vaccines before they could determine which is the most appropriate for use in Trinidad and Tobago.
There are four vaccine candidates under consideration: Pfizer/BioNtech, Moderna, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Sanofi. Of these, only Pfizer/Biontech’s vaccine has so far been approved for use by the World Health Organisation (WHO). With a required storage temperature of -80 degrees, the Pfizer vaccine also needs the coldest storage, which causes logistical challenges when transporting and storing the vials.
The country is not yet ready to receive the vaccine, but Deyalsingh said the ministry was in an ‘excellent place’ in its preparation.
The health ministry reported 10 new infections of Sars-Cov-2 today. This brings the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 from March 2020 to 7196. There have been no new deaths reported, so the death toll remains at 127.
There are 23 patients in hospital, 63 in step-down facilities and 232 in state quarantine facilities, including 17 inmates in the prison system. There are 325 confirmed active cases in the country.