Wednesday 2 December, 2020

Opposition leader questions COVID-19 plan as cases spike

Pictured: UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar speaks with reporters after casting her ballot at the Hermitage Presbyterian Primary School, La Romaine on August 10, 2020. Photo by Darlisa Ghouralal.

Pictured: UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar speaks with reporters after casting her ballot at the Hermitage Presbyterian Primary School, La Romaine on August 10, 2020. Photo by Darlisa Ghouralal.

Political leader of the United National Congress (UNC) Kamla Persad-Bissessar has questioned the absence of additional measures to treat with the new wave of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.

There have been 132 new cases reported this week alone, and one additional death.

In a statement on Friday, Persad-Bissessar expressed concern over the steady rise in numbers, with 78 additional cases reported on Thursday alone.

The UNC leader said she was shocked that no new measures had been announced by the Health Ministry to curb the spread of the virus.

“I am also quite surprised that the Health Ministry has not yet comprehensively announced any new and urgent contingency measures to protect citizens from this new wave of Covid-19 infections.

I expect that they will see the need to do this as soon as possible, in the interest of keeping our citizens safe.”

She criticised what she described as Government’s “colossal failure” to adequately test the population for COVID-19.

Persad-Bissessar renewed her call for a series of rapid, widespread testing of the population, to offset a “clearly impending crisis”.

The UNC leader called on citizens to stay alert and follow established health protocols to limit the spread of COVID-19.

She said: “I know that many of you may use this weekend in particular as a time to enjoy some much-needed relaxation, especially coming out of the very tense and busy election campaign season.

While you enjoy your weekend, please be mindful of this very serious public health threat and obey all the public health guidelines and regulations at all costs.”

“We must all do our very best to protect ourselves. Please remember to wear your masks, sanitise and ensure you engage in proper and stern social and physical distancing at all costs,” the UNC leader urged.

Meanwhile, former Central Bank governor Terrence Farrell put the lack of new measures to stem the rise of COVID-19 cases into perspective.

He pointed to the delay in the appointment and swearing-in of a new administration as the main factor preventing the introduction of new policies to adequately address the new wave of the coronavirus.

Farrell said: “Trinidad and Tobago is now experiencing a public health emergency given the exponential increase in COVID-19 cases.  This requires a functional Cabinet and Minister of Health to promulgate the changes in the regulations to bring the spread under control.”

He called on UNC candidates who have requested recounts in constituencies where they lost by a margin of hundreds of votes to allow the swearing-in to take place to treat with the rise in COVID-19 cases.

“Jearlean John, Nabila Greene, David Nakhid, Colonel Ahloy Hunt, please end these farcical recounts now!  You and the rest of the population know that the recounts will change nothing.  Let the new Cabinet be sworn in to deal with the emerging public health crisis.”

Farrell said the resulting outcome of the delay of the democratic process will be on the candidates and on the UNC’s leadership who he said instigated the “farce”.

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