National Security Minister Stuart Young speak to members of the media during a recent news conference in Port-of-Spain.

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Minister of National Security Stuart Young says a diplomatic note has been sent to Barbados officials concerning COVID-19 testing for Trinidad and Tobago nationals who have been in that country for the past two weeks, as a potential first step towards getting them back home.

Young also yesterday confirmed that T&T had sent testing kits to Barbados so that the 35 T&T nationals could be tested. If their tests are negative, Young said they will take advice from medical experts concerning the next step. He said even if the T&T nationals test negative in Barbados, the Government will have to be careful how they handle the situation.

“The worst thing that can happen is they then go …, if I hope they test negative coming out of their mandatory quarantine and they re-engage with persons in public or persons who may have the COVID-19 virus and then they can be contaminated all over again,” he said.

He said similarly, he had been provided with addresses for 33 Trinidad and Tobago nationals in Suriname and has asked that officials there have them tested before any further arrangements can be made concerning their repatriation.

Young once again advised those stranded in Margarita, Venezuela, to contact the T&T Embassy in Caracas.

However, he noted that moves to return citizens home would be difficult considering that all of these countries have also closed their borders. If arrangements are made to bring them back to this country, a quarantine procedure similar to that used for returning citizens from the Guadeloupe cruise may be used, Young said.

Young also served a warning to fishermen, reminding them that the closed borders also meant maritime borders are closed as well.

“We had our first sting operation on that over the weekend and we picked up some persons posing as fishermen to go across the border to trade in certain items. They are going to be charged under these regulations and subject to the full brunt of the law,” said Young.

“Please stay within our borders. You may continue your fishing within our sea borders.”

Young also clarified that wine merchants and liquor marts, even if they sold other food items, would be required to be closed until April 30 as well.

“Spirit retailer licenses, wine retailer licenses, restaurant licenses or wine merchant licenses, under the Liquor License Act, your premises with respect to such licenses are to be closed for operation up until the 30th of April, “ he said.