Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh speaks during a media conference on the government’s effort in combating the Convid-19 virus at Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s yesterday.

With the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) expected to be spread into communities where the nine cases condfirmed so far reside, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh says the ministry will be ramping up contact tracing.

“What is going to happen sooner or later, we are going to have community cases. So far, all the cases we’ve had were imported cases, but there will come a time when you have community spread. To help us with community spread, we need bodies on the ground to do what is called contact tracing,” Deyalsingh said during a post-Cabinet press conference dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak.

From as early as this weekend, he said over 100 medical workers, 50 members of the Red Cross Society and another 50 registered nurses from the District Health Visitor Programme will begin contact tracing.

In thanking healthcare workers, Deyalsingh said he had learned from Eastern Regional Health Authority CEO Ronald Tsoi-a-Fatt that healthcare practitioners outside the public health system were volunteering to look after those quarantined in Balandra.

He also said that 4,000 test kits donated by the Chinese government will arrive in T&T next week and the Government will also receive an additional 50 thermal scanners to assist in precautionary measures at the various ports of entry.

PAHO is also set to assess laboratory machines at two sites to determine compatibility with tests that are needed for COVID-19 and will also be providing supplies for 3,000 tests from their US headquarters.