T&T performs 50 times fewer tests per Covid-19 case than leading countries

EPL Infrafred Sauna

The Ministry of Health has reported nine new cases of Covid-19 today, bringing the total number of new cases detected at the start of 2021 to 69. In total, there have been 7,219 confirmed cases since March 2020.

With a total of 74,775 tests conducted, Trinidad and Tobago has performed around 10 tests for each confirmed case. Countries that have fared well during the pandemic, like New Zealand, Taiwan and Singapore, have performed 500, 167 and 100 tests per confirmed case respectively.

Photo: A Covid-19 swab test in Jakarta.
(via Reuters)

According to Our World in Data, a project started by a team of Oxford University researchers: “A country that performs very few tests for each case it confirms is not testing widely enough for the number of confirmed cases to paint a reliable picture of the true spread of the virus. Whilst those people with the most severe symptoms may have been tested in such countries, there are likely to be many times more people with mild or no symptoms that were never tested.”

On its official website, the Ministry of Health says that who needs to be tested is determined by public health officials, guided by World Health Organisation guidelines.

It states: “Not everyone with flu-like symptoms needs to be tested. At this time, if you do not fit the criteria, testing will not be performed. Factors such as clinical history, travel history and/or contact with a COVID-19 positive patient are considered.”

Last month, 2020 ended with a total of 481 new confirmed cases of the virus. That figure is about half of the 977 cases recorded at the end of November 2020. December 2020 also saw 12 people succumb to Covid-19. There have been no new deaths reported for January 2021 so far and the death toll stands at 127.

Image: Number of Covid-19 tests per confirmed cases

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, doorknobs and cell phones;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitiser;
  • Cough into a tissue or 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 WhatsApp to 482-GARY.

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About Fayola Bostic

Fayola Bostic is a writer and copyeditor. She is the founder of Write Energy Ltd, which creates content for technical industry brands. Fayola is a former engineer who has been writing professionally for more than a decade.

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