(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – National Security Minister Stuart Young has announced that gatherings of more than five persons will not be allowed, as the Government moves to implemented stricter measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
Speaking at a press briefing this morning, Young said Government had taken a decision, based on the advice from medical experts, that it had become necessary to amend the law to reduce the number of people from 10 to five.
The new order will come into effect today and will remain in effect until April 20.
Young said citizens will not be allowed to gather in public places, not deemed to be essential, without reasonable justification.
“This decision was taken to protect the population of Trinidad and Tobago. This is all about protection of the people and use of common sense,” he said.
The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) and Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) will continue to patrol and engage in road blocks to prevent gatherings.
He said law enforcement officers were allowed to ask citizens to give reasons for being on the roads.
“The police service has certain powers, the officers can ask anyone what is the business they are about. This is because every person who ventures out is exposed to a risk,” he said.
Young also addressed those people who gather outside commercial banks, supermarkets and pharmacies.
He asked that citizens practice social distancing outside these establishments.
“Now is not time for mischief, it is for all to be personally socially responsible. We are seeing persons gathered outside essential services. So you have social distancing outside but gathering in large numbers outside. You should only leave homes if absolutely necessary,” he said.
As of Tuesday morning, the Health Ministry reports the following:
Number of samples submitted to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for testing for COVID-19 – 553
Number of samples which have tested positive 85
Number of deaths 3
Number of persons discharged 1
Of the total number of positive cases, 49 of these positive cases came from the group of nationals who recently returned from a cruise:
• 46 positive cases from the group of 68 nationals who returned from the cruise together
• 3 positive cases from the group of nationals who returned from the same cruise separately from the other 68 nationals. T
he Ministry of Health reminds the public that placing your hands on your face increases the risk of contracting the virus.
The virus can transfer from your hands to your nose and mouth, and then enter your body.
Protect yourself by washing your hands often with soap and water or by using an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, if soap and water are not available.
The public is also strongly advised to take the following personal hygiene measures to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19:
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
o Dispose of tissue immediately after using o Cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow if you do not have a tissue
• Stay home if you are ill
• Sanitize hard surfaces (e.g. table tops, handrails, doorknobs and trolleys) as often as possible.
• Avoid close contact with people who have flu-like symptoms
• Practise social distancing o Maintain at least 2 metres (approximately 6 feet) distance between yourself and others, especially anyone who is coughing or showing signs of flu-like illness.
It is also advised that all public transportation vehicles should operate with windows open and limit their occupancy.