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Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announces changes to the Public Health Regulations during yesterday's sitting of Parliament.

SHARLENE RAMPERSAD

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has announced major changes to the Public Health Regulations, including allowing families to travel in their private vehicles without wearing masks and a hold-off on the Public Sector Vaccine Policy.

Speaking in Parliament on Friday afternoon, the Prime Minister outlined a number of other changes to the regulations – most of which will become applicable on Monday (March 7).

He said the public service will return to work in its full strength from Monday and all public transport vehicles will return to 100 per cent capacity.

“Mask wearing will continue to be required for vehicles being used for public transport, including all vehicles in which people are paying to be transported. Families will no longer be required to be masked in their vehicles,” Rowley said.

He said those in marine vessels being used by families will also not be required to be masked.

Rowley said public gatherings are now allowed with up to 25 people and safe zones will be allowed to operate at 75 per cent capacity.

He said once there are no major dangerous changes with COVID-19, all school children will be allowed to return to physical classes at the start of term three.

He also announced a number of changes to religious services and funerals.

“We are removing restrictions with respect to the length of time and numerical capacity at religious places of worship, mask-wearing will continue to be required during services. The number of people permitted at graveside services will be unrestricted but mask-wearing is mandatory for the time being,” he said.

The Prime Minister said all unvaccinated nationals returning to T&T will now only have to be quarantined for seven days instead of 14, once they produce a negative PCR test on the seventh day.

The quarantine time for those in contact with positive cases will also be reduced from 14 days to 10 days.

“This would allow for increased productivity and a decrease in staff shortages, especially amongst the essential services,” Rowley said.

He also announced that the Ministry of Health will be providing a national pathway for the consolidation of the parallel health care system in the coming weeks.