Trinidad and Tobago enters the final stretch of the holiday period today with the Easter Monday holiday. However, with forced muted celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a palpable pandemic fatigue ever-present, the biggest challenge remains fighting off the latest spike in cases.
In that regard, as the country enters this final week of the Easter vacation, this newspaper urges the T&T Police Service to continue the work it started on the weekend to ensure citizens remain compliant with the health protocols of sanitising, wearing masks and social distancing in public spaces.
It goes without saying that the biggest responsibility in fighting the virus lies with the citizens themselves. It is only they who have the power to be the ultimate enforcers of the simple protocols we have as first layers to keeping COVID away.
As two recent incidents at the St Francis RC Church in Belmont and Chaguanas Market have shown, only the citizens will know when they are feeling unwell and use this as a signal to stay at home pending a determination of what that ill-feeling means. In both cases, involving three people who later tested positive for the virus, they exposed hundreds to potential danger.
As Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram has said many times during this pandemic, flu-like symptoms during a pandemic are to be taken very seriously. Judging from these latest incidents, some citizens are still taking their health conditions too lightly and venturing out into the public domain, thereby placing the health and well-being of others at risk.
Ultimately then, it may come down to the TTPS becoming the watchful enforcers.
Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith has taken in front, heading to Tobago over the weekend to command his colleagues in ensuring the bars, beaches and other spots where people congregate in their numbers were monitored.
The task is tough for the police as well since it is reported that some 10,000 Trinidadians journeyed to Tobago for the Easter vacation. On Saturday alone, some 47 tickets were issued to citizens for not wearing face masks. In the current scenario, however, this is 47 too many.
Again, no amount of enforcement by the police will prevent the unseen scenarios where citizens expose themselves and others to the disease. The responsibility, therefore, lies with each and every one of us from now until the Ministry of Health can acquire the close to 700,000 vaccines it will need to inoculate citizens to achieve herd immunity in the first instance. Even then, based on what we have seen in other countries that are close to or have already achieved the numbers needed for such status, we are still a long way from determining whether vaccines do provide the antibodies needed to seriously fight off the COVID scourge.
As such, the vigilance must reside with the individual and we urge all citizens to fight against the lax behaviour which is threatening another wave of COVID.