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Elections and Boundries Commission Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain.

One day after a five-member team from the United National Congress (UNC) met with officials from the Election and Boundaries Commission (EBC) – the public has been advised that Scott House in Port-of-Spain will be closed today for sanitizing after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

However, up to 5 pm yesterday, the UNC’s Public Relations Officer Dr Kirk Meighoo said they had not been contacted regarding any risk or potential exposure.

Wednesday’s meeting was held at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, Port-of-Spain and according to Meighoo, “We weren’t anywhere near the EBC building.”

The UNC’s team included Meighoo, Chairman Peter Kanhai, and MPs Khadijah Ameen, Saddam Hosein and Dave Tancoo.

Confirming their names, temperature checks and contact information were recorded prior to the start of the meeting, Meighoo added, “We would have expected to receive a call from them if it was anything but we haven’t.”

He vowed to check with EBC officials last evening to ascertain if the team had anything to be concerned about.

Scott House closed today

Via a release, EBC officials advised that the closure of the Call Centre and the Administrative Offices for the Port-of-Spain/Laventille Registration Area Office, and the Diego Martin Registration Area Offices located at Scott House, Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain – had become necessary after a staff member tested positive for the virus.

Officials assured, “All members of staff who have been in contact with the affected staff member will be tested and the EBC will be working with the relevant units of the Ministry of Health to start contact tracing.”

The public was further advised by the EBC that its Port-of-Spain/Laventille Registration Area Office which serves areas such as Woodbrook, St. James, Port-of-Spain, Belmont, Gonzales, Morvant, Laventille, St. Ann’s, Cascade, Newtown and several other communities will remain closed to the public in the first instance for at least seven days, until April 16.

Members of the public with appointments will be contacted to have them rescheduled.

UTT Tamana Campus to reopen today

Meanwhile, one week after an employee at the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s (UTT) Tamana Campus tested positive for COVID-19 officials closed the facility yesterday to sanitize only after staff reportedly objected to the lack of action.

In a memorandum dated April 7 and titled “Sanitising of EB1 UTT Tamana Facility,” staff were advised the particular building would have been “closed for complete sanitizing.”

Officials advised staff to make alternate arrangements to work either from EB 2 or EB 3; other campuses; or to work remotely using the online services available.

EB 1 is expected to be reopened today.

Speaking with Guardian Media Limited yesterday, upset staff members expressed concern over the delay as they said the lack of action had exposed many more people.

This, as 24 students along with their parents, would have visited the campus on Wednesday to collect graduation certificates and also have their pictures taken in the graduation gowns.

One staff member said, “The university’s response has been to transfer the staff to other buildings on the compound or let them work from other UTT sites.

“The report is that UTT’s senior management was aware of the situation but only acted after the staff started asking questions.”

Denying their representative union – the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) was aware of the situation – one staff member added, “We are concerned that we could have been exposed, especially with the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.”

Contacted via phone yesterday, UTT Chairman Prof Cement Imbert admitted the campus had to be sanitised after a staff member was diagnosed with the virus.

Unable to say if contact tracing had been undertaken by the relevant authorities, he said UTT has responsible workers to deal with such matters.

“I was told about it (COVID case) this morning and went straight into a meeting after that. We are dealing with it.”

Told that senior management had been aware of the employee’s condition but only acted when staff members became concerned and started asking questions, Imbert responded, “I don’t want to give any information that I don’t have.”

Indicating this was not the first UTT employee to contract the virus, he added, “As far as I know, we are taking precautionary measures.”