Friday 3 April, 2020

Deyalsingh bouffs UNC members 'intent on inviting COVID-19' to T&T

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh responds to a question in Parliament on March 6, 2020, regarding COVID-19.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh responds to a question in Parliament on March 6, 2020, regarding COVID-19.

While the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has upgraded the risk of transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the region from “low” to “moderate to high”, to date, there remains no confirmed cases in Trinidad and Tobago.

This, from Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, as he in Parliament on Friday denied for the “umpteenth time” that there is any case of the virus.

Deyalsingh was responding to a question from Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh regarding rumours that a female national had tested positive for COVID-19 and is under quarantine at the Caura Hospital.

The Minister in responding to Indarsingh’s question again called for responsibility from all sectors of society in relation to information on the virus being circulated in the public domain.

He delivered a buff to members of the Opposition saying that there were some MPs who seemed intent on “inviting” COVID-19 to T&T’s shores.

“Let me say categorically for the umpteenth time…there have been 30 tests done at CARPHA, which is none political. To date, there are no positive tests.”

“There is no one. Not man, woman, child, national, foreigner, UNC, PNM, Union, business. There is no one at Caura under quarantine.”

Pressed further on the availability of medication to treat COVID-19, the Minister reiterated previous statements over the past week on the stock of pharmaceuticals to treat flu-like symptoms, as there is still no specific drug or treatment for the virus.

He advised Indarsingh to consult with the doctors on the Opposition bench – Dr Fuad Khan, Dr Lackram ­Bodoe and Dr Tim Gopeesingh) ­ before posing “technical questions”.

“There is no specific treatment, there is no cure, there is no vaccine for COVID-19. We have, in stock, as the Member for Caroni East will know, Fyzabad and Barataria/San Juan who could advise you that you treat flu-like symptoms – whether it is H1N1, Influenza B or COVID – symptomatically.”

He continued: “If the person has shortness of breath, you will give them bronchodilators and oxygen. We have that. If their blood pressure is dropping, you give them medication to do that. There is no specific silver-bullet drug, tablet, injection, vaccine, anywhere in the universe – Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Jupiter, the Sun or the Moon to treat with coronavirus.”

The Minister again stressed that there is ample stock of medication, but in the event that the need arises, T&T has access to Pan American Health Organisation stock for supportive medication and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Indarsingh then questioned whether there was sufficient supply of insulin and “other related drugs”.

An obviously exasperated Deyalsingh held his hand up to his head as he rose to answer the question posed by the Opposition member.

Noting that insulin is used to treat diabetes, he asked: “How uninformed can the Opposition be?”

He again urged Opposition members to be responsible and avoid causing unnecessary panic as he said it was clear that there were those who didn’t know the first thing about the coronavirus but seemed intent on bringing it to T&T.

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