Thursday 26 November, 2020

Jearlean: More public education needed on masks

Opposition Senator, Jearlean John says that more education on cloth face masks is needed in Trinidad and Tobago before they are made mandatory. 

Speaking in the Senate sitting geared toward amending the Public Health Bill to make mask-wearing mandatory, John questioned whether the government had done enough before reaching this juncture. 

“Have we done enough? Yes, we have reached the point where we are applying punitive measures, but have we done enough?” she mused. 

John says there are many in T&T who may not understand why masks are necessary or what the proper definition of a face mask is. 

“I have not seen where there is this robust drilling down of information telling the people of Trinidad and Tobago really the hardship that comes with this COVID virus,” she lamented. 

The Senator also added that the government should take steps to ensure an economic disparity doesn’t impact on access to masks. 

“If it is that we are going to have a universal mandate then everyone has to have access to these face masks, that is very critical. 

“For some of us it is very easy, you can walk in the parliament and get a free mask, but for many people there’s a problem to really access a mask or purchase a mask. So, we have to find out if it is easily accessible,” she said. 

John says the government should undertake more educational measures in order to reach those who may have previously missed the message. 

“We need a robust, roving programme of education and I’ve not seen that communication. I have not seen that anywhere,” she said. 

In responding, Minister of Social Development, Donna Cox refuted the claims that there was a lack of education in the public domain.

Cox explained that the Ministries of Health Social Development, Health and Communication all explained, at length, the importance of face masks. She says health officials spoke on the issue at length at press conferences, through the media and even through community drives. 

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: