Friday 30 October, 2020

Kamla: 'Where are the new COVID-19 measures?'

Pictured: Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Photo via Facebook, Office of the President.

Pictured: Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Photo via Facebook, Office of the President.

The Opposition has questioned the absence of new measures from Government to treat with the increase of COVID-19 cases seen over the past few weeks.

Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus have risen to more than 1,600, with close to 1,000 of those cases, as of Sunday morning, being active.

Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar in a statement on Sunday said Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at a press conference on Saturday introduced no new measures to stem the spread of the virus.

She said: “Prime Minister Rowley proffered no new measures to combat this deadly crisis, despite the alarming increase in COVID-19 positive cases among citizens across the length and breadth of T&T. 

Apart from legally mandating the wearing of masks in public, the Government is worryingly continuing its dangerous trend of failing to adequately respond to this deadly pandemic in an effective, timely manner.”

She also criticised the lack of measures to protect the country’s borders from the influx of illegal immigrants. She urged the National Security Ministry to immediately address this issue, and duly inform the public of same.

She said failure on the Government’s part to act quickly can result in “even more medical, social and economic instability in our battered nation”.

Noting the Opposition’s support of the mask-wearing legislation, Persad-Bissessar called on the Rowley-led administration to introduce similar aggressive and practical initiatives to combat the virus’ spread.

She called on Government to immediately procure rapid testing kits to get a “real idea” of the levels of community spread.

“We call on Government to immediately embark on renewed, urgent, national consultations with the Opposition and other critical business, labour and social sector stakeholders,” she continued.

The Opposition leader also slammed Government’s handling of pandemic leave, the delivery of salary relief grants, and creating sustainable jobs.

The Opposition proposed the following immediate steps to help stem the spread of the virus:

Establishment of a COVID-19 Intelligence where all national security agencies will communicate and execute strategic plans and operations in unison;

Deployment of teams of Health Officers to ensure COVID-19 regulations’ compliance by businesses and the general public;

Procurement of 100,000 rapid tests (enough to test about 10 percent of the population) which will give results within 30 minutes;

Stock up on suitable amounts of PPE for frontline workers as well as more beds, ventilators, and other medical equipment made available for expected increases that will come with the ramped-up testing.

The Opposition is encouraging all citizens to continue to follow all health guidelines set out by the World Health Organisation, obey the laws regarding social distancing and wearing of masks, and commit to battling this pandemic together, as a united people and nation.

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