It was a bad week for Trinidad and Tobago in its fight against the covid19 virus. There have been over 1,400 new cases and 12 deaths between April 23 and 30.
A check of the Health Ministry’s releases for the period showed 1,441 new cases, including eight new known cases of the Brazilian variant.
TT recorded its highest daily number of new cases to date on Thursday, with 328 being detected.
On Friday the number of cases was 326. There are now 2,174 active cases.
The number of deaths increased from 157 to 169 over the period, with one or more deaths occurring every day except Sunday.
These factors led to the announcement by the Prime Minister of further restrictions from Friday, including closing malls, restaurants, bars, places of worship, gyms and fitness centres, casinos and betting houses, cinemas, theatres, and clubs, as well as banning all eco-tours.
He pointed out, “The 328 new cases represent only a portion of infections in the country, with many other cases likely undetected or unreported. There must be very many other persons out there who are asymptomatic or who are confining themselves to home without the interventions of the health department. We can only reach one conclusion: the level of infection in TT is reaching disturbing heights.”
He said the public service will operate only essential services, rolling back to the original restrictions in March 2020. Tobago will be isolated by limiting travel in and out to three flights a day, while the seabridge will operate at 25 per cent capacity.
The tightened restrictions came as a blow to many, particularly workers who were just beginning to find their way back after previous restrictions, as well as those who have been following the public health regulations since March 2021.
The spike in cases was thought to be a result of Easter weekend activities as well as a lack of compliance with the public health regulations.
Another blow came when Dr Rowley announced on Friday that there had been contamination at a plant in Baltimore in the US where the AstraZeneca vaccine was being manufactured. He said this was not good news for TT.
“The outcome of that is to have made the availability of vaccines from that supplier unacceptable until further notice and further checks. We had anticipated that if 60 million units were to be distributed, we would have been there somewhere down the line and we still expect to be there whenever, but if that scientific piece of information is confirmed, then it is not good news for us.”US President Joe Biden had said that millions of excess US doses of vaccines would be made available to other counties, and TT had hoped to obtain some soon.
However, there was some positive news, as the Prime Minister also announced that the second shipment of Covax vaccines would arrive in TT in May.
He said the decision had been taken to inoculateunvaccinated people with the 38,000-plus doses being held to dispense to those who had already received one dose of the two-dose vaccine.
The details of the renewed rollout are expected to be given today at the Health Ministry’s media conference.