Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has called on the government to increase testing for COVID-19, saying it is a “must do” for this country.

Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is once again urging the government to ramp up citizen testing for COVID-19.

The early morning press release yesterday came after the Ministry of Health’s 10 pm update on Thursday which showed an increase in positive cases to 97 and took the number of deaths to six.

“I note with grave concern the most recent official statistics regarding the COVID-19 spread in Trinidad and Tobago, which clearly point to an urgent need for the Ministry of Health to significantly increase its testing capacity of suspected COVID-19 cases among the population,” she said.

At a news conference on Thursday, the Minister of Health, Terrence Deyalsingh showed a GIS map which showed the geographical location of where the COVID-19 patients lived.

“Very worryingly, this map clearly depicts the potentially very wide spread of COVID-19, especially in three of our most densely populated regions—Chaguanas, the East/West corridor and Port-of-Spain,” she said.

Persad-Bissessar said that the global statistics demonstrate that the countries which have “prioritised early detection in their fight against the COVID-19 spread via large scale testing of their populations have had low mortality rates and are most successful in containing the spread”.

“In light of its latest statistics, it is therefore simply unacceptable that the Health Ministry has only tested 688 samples for COVID-19 out of the 20,000 exposed persons (by their given statistics) in the past month,” she said.

Persad-Bissessar called on the Government to institute widespread testing of all primary, secondary and tertiary health care workers deemed to be exposed/at risk for COVID-19 from any positive patient.

She also called for the re-testing of all persons with symptoms consistent with the virus who initially tested negative and for the posthumous testing of all persons who died in the target period of flu-like or related COVID-19 symptoms, and who were not tested before their deaths.

“Re-testing of all persons who have recovered from infection and were deemed to be adequately immune,” she said.

Persad-Bissessar also said that the increased large scale testing as a matter of priority now falls within this ‘must do’ range of solutions at this very fragile state of our the nation’s life.