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T&T’s Covid-19 changes: Team sports, public transport limits, quarantine periods and more

“[…] Public gatherings of persons in groups of no more than 25 is now to be permissible. The recommencement of team sports and contact sports is allowed.

“[…] Provided that we do not have dangerous changes in our COVID-19 position, we will permit all children to return to physical schooling in term three…”

The following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s address to Parliament on Friday 4 March 2022, which deals specifically with the loosening of Covid-19 restrictions from Monday 7 March:

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.

I expect that our national watchwords ‘Discipline, Production and Tolerance’ would guide our social behaviour as we go forward living with Covid-19 and that the majority of our population will proceed with dignified restraint, and be mindful that, as we begin the process of lifting the remaining restriction, we will be considerate of our brothers and sisters, and the fact that the virus, which unfortunately continues to claim lives, is still amongst us. 

We have agreed now to add Responsibility to our list of watchwords; common sense and Covid-19 demand it.

Madame Speaker, as we enter this phase of living with the virus and moving towards it becoming endemic, as it has already been declared in some hitherto ravaged populations, we have taken the following decisions going forward:-

The retention of masking: Appropriate mask-wearing is an essential public health measure which should be retained at this time, especially due to the circulation of the extremely infectious Omicron variant which lends itself to aerosolisation and to significantly asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic disease.

In late December 2021, the World Health Organization re-emphasised its recommendation to maintain mask use in the face of Omicron.  As such, mask use will remain in force at this time in all public spaces and places where there is public interaction.

Photo: Keep your masks on…

Public transport will be allowed to return to 100% of capacity. Mask wearing will continue to be required in vehicles being used for public transport, including vehicles in which persons are paying to be transported.

Families will no longer be required to be masked in their vehicles. This change will also apply to marine vessels being used by families.

We are removing restrictions with respect to the length of time and numerical capacity at religious places of worship. Mask wearing will continue to be required during services at religious places of worship.

The number of persons permitted at graveside funeral services will be unrestricted but mask wearing is mandatory for the time being.

For unvaccinated nationals returning to Trinidad and Tobago, a reduction in the quarantine time would be applicable. Quarantine time will be reduced from 14 to seven days, with discharge taking place on the receipt of a negative PCR test on the 7th day.

Photo: A woman is tested for Covid-19.

We will decrease the national quarantine time (for contacts of positive cases) from 14 to ten days. This would allow for increased productivity and a decrease in the likelihood of staffing shortages, especially amongst the essential services.

Of note, the Ministry of Health recently reduced the isolation time for positive patients from 21 days in all categories, to ten days for persons with no symptoms and 13 days for those with moderate to severe disease. They will be discharged in accordance with the discretion of the County Medical Officers of Health.

Public gatherings of persons in groups of no more than 25 is now to be permissible.

The recommencement of team sports and contact sports is allowed.

We will allow the establishments that are currently allowed to operate as safe zones for vaccinated or exempted persons and children under the age of 12 to operate at 75% capacity.

Provided that we do not have dangerous changes in our COVID-19 position, we will permit all children to return to physical schooling in term three. The Ministry of Education will put out the necessary guidelines to safely manage this process.

Photo: Uprising Youths substitutes get excited as their team clinches the Republic Bank 2015 National Youth Cup Under-11 crown at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar.
(Courtesy Sinead Peters/Wired868)

As of Monday 7 March, 2022, the public service will return to full service and ALL public servants will be expected to return to work as normal.

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