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Prof Christopher Oura

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Virologist Dr Christopher Oura believes the sharp upturn in COVID-19 cases in Trinidad and Tobago stems from pandemic fatigue.

Within the past six days, the country has recorded four COVID-19-related deaths and some 360 cases. This means there were more COVID-19 cases reported in just under a week than the total recorded for the entire month of March (310).

“It’s really associated, I’m afraid, with people getting a bit fed up with the rules and then they slack and then the virus comes back,” Oura said yesterday.

“It’s very common. We’ve seen this in many different countries.”

He said this increase in cases appears to be the start of another wave of infections.

“Waves come in different sizes. This is certainly…a significant uptick,” he said.

Oura said it’s crucial to intervene while it’s a small wave and controlling it. To do that, he said, takes an all of society approach.

“The key thing here is looking for that upturn—when the wave first starts. That’s the critical point at which time people need to really take note, government needs to take note, public health authorities need to take note…people have to start realising they have to really follow the rules that we all know about,” he said.

“If they don’t, this wave would get bigger and bigger and bigger. So there is a chance to control it and make it a small wave but everybody has to get on board.”

On Wednesday, the Government reimplemented restrictions for citizens for three weeks. Beaches have been closed again, in-house dining at restaurants, bars and cinemas have been prohibited and the number of people allowed to congregate in public was reduced from 10 to five.

It was the second time this year that restrictions had to be reimposed to curb the spread of the virus.

It’s the third instance of rollback that the Government has taken since the outbreak first began on March 12, 2020.

According to the Ministry of Health’s daily update, there were 64 new cases yesterday. And as of 4 pm yesterday, 15,425 people had been inoculated as part of the country’s first phase of the national vaccination drive.

National Security Minister Stuart Young announced yesterday that he will be taking the vaccine today, along with other heads of national security.