Both the health minister and the chief medical officer urge calm, as T&T has no confirmed COVID-19 cases, yet...

Both Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh and Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram are urging citizens to remain calm, following news out of Canada that one of their recent COVID-19 cases in Alberta province, had travelled through this country.

Yesterday, Alberta province’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Deena Hinshaw, said the seven people who have most recently tested positive for the illness, were confirmed travel-related cases who had returned from visiting a range of countries, including France, the Netherlands, Egypt, Iran, Taiwan, Germany, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, the Philippines and the United States.

She also confirmed that several of those persons had visited more than one country, and that one individual was on the MS Braemar cruise ship.

She reported that all seven were now recovering in isolation at home with support from public health officials.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram says he has reached out to Public Health Canada, and expects to get details on the individual who travelled through T&T, later today. He took pains to explain the comments of his Canadian counterpart.

“She did not say that Trinidad was a source. She said that a person came from Trinidad, as well as other countries, and recently came back to Alberta,” he clarified. “So any person could visit any country recently, and go back to their home country and get COVID-19; but it can be contracted at any point during their trip.”

And Dr Roshan Parasram is once again confirming that up to this point, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in T&T.

“This means it is highly unlikely—or rather, almost improbable—that anyone could come to Trinidad and get a case of COVID-19 and go to another country,” he explains. “We are not exporting the disease, because we have no confirmed cases at this point.”

The CMO says there is no need for citizens to be alarmed at the news.

“Let us look at the data and see what it shows. As I said, it is very unlikely that anyone would come from a country with no cases confirmed and spread that disease to some other country,” Dr Parasram assures.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh assures that Government is doing all it can to prepare for what seems to be the inevitable importation of the virus. He notes that the Cabinet appointed national committee with oversight on this country’s COVID-19 preparedness, has been meeting daily to ensure T&T can face what comes.

“We have done a whole set of scenarios so that when it comes, we will determine quickly the level of the threat, and kick in the response,” Minister Deyalsingh told Guardian Media this morning.

The health minister also gave assurances that the national plan covers both Trinidad and Tobago, and that Tobago is just as ready as Trinidad for what may come.

“There is a Trinidad and Tobago plan, and TEMA and the THA are part of the plan,” he states. “We have seen the plan in action in recent weeks with the turning away of an Italian cruise ship and the quick isolation of a Tobagonian returning home from a country of interest.”

Minister Deyalsingh also says there is no plan at this time to ban Jamaican nationals from entering this country, since it has reported one imported case only.