corona

Trinidad and Tobago’s Covid-19 count continues to rise, as four additional cases were confirmed yesterday.

This takes the number of confirmed cases to 173.

The Ministry of Health gave the information in its morning update. None of the new cases has been classified as imported or a contact of a recently confirmed case.

The ministry is conducting epidemio­logical investigations to determine how and where the new cases contracted the virus.

The four new patients have been taken to the Caura Hospital. This is the latest in a spike of Covid-19 cases seen over the past two weeks, after more than 80 days without any local cases being detected.

As new cases continue to be detected, another school has been ordered to close, as the parent of a pupil attending Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) classes has been confirmed to have the virus.

The ASJA Boys’ Primary School in Charlieville is the fifth school to be closed since schools reopened for SEA pupils on July 20.

The Maraval RC School, the Tacarigua Presbyterian School, the St Augustine Government Primary School and the Arima West Government Primary School were temporarily closed due to exposure to Covid-19.

The spike in cases has prompted Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to announce tighter restrictions on gatherings in public places.

On Friday he said gatherings will now be restricted to ten, down from 25, and public servants will be asked to report to work on rotation or by alphabetical order.

He said the SEA examination is now on “watch” and a decision will be made in the coming days as to whether the exam will go off as planned on August 20. Rowley, however, said despite the upsurge in “local” cases, the August 10 general election will not be postponed.

The Ministry of Health said yesterday that there are now 27 Covid-19 patients at Caura and two at the Couva hospital. No one has been admitted to step-down facilities. According to the ministry’s daily clini­cal update, the number of samples submitted to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (Carpha) and the UWI site for testing now stands at 8,150.

One hundred and thirty-two patients have been discharged to date and deaths remain at eight.

The Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago announced yesterday it has implemented health and safety protocols at the Piarco and ANR Robinson International airports to protect travellers, employees, stakeholders and airport users from the spread of Covid-19.

When arriving at the airports, people will see some additional measures as follows:

. Face masks are required for entry into terminals and must be worn at all points throughout the terminal buildings;

. Temperature screening takes place at entrances and before security checkpoints;

. Increased hand sanitisation stations are available;

. Physical distancing must be observed at all times;

. Passengers are advised of the following installations at the check-in area:

. Sneeze guards at the check-in counters;

. Increased number of hand sanitisation stations;

. Physical distancing markers to guide responsible queuing;

. Regular sanitisation of all surfaces;

• No gathering of standby passengers.

The authority said at security checkpoints:

• Masks must remain on;

• Temperature screening will be conducted before the checkpoints;

• Physical distancing is required in queues;

• Passport bio-pages and departing flight details must be on hand;

• Security screening trays are sanitised frequently.

Instructions of security officers and signage must be observed to allow for faster processing.

The authority said while at the departure lounges:

. Face masks should be worn;

. Social distancing must be practised at seating areas;

. Increased sanitisation stations are available;

. Seats and other frequently used surfaces are regularly sanitised;

. Passport bio-pages and departing flight details should be ready for presentation to the agent at the gate;

. Physical distancing should be observed when queuing at gates.

. Throughout the airports, there are increased hand sanitisation stations, the observance of distance seating, enhanced cleaning protocols and the routine disinfection of security trays and general surfaces, it added.

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Lance Corporal Keverne Miller, 42, of Lakeview, Point Fortin, was pronounced dead on arrival at the Point Fortin Area Hospital.

Miller served 16 years in the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force, his father, Daffort Miller, 73, said.

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These were the words of a 45-year-old man on Thursday night while speaking to investigators in Valencia at the scene of an accident which claimed the life of 49-year-old Elvis Marcano.

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WEDNESDAY’S ruling by Justice Frank Seepersad in favour of the Trinidad Express against the State was not just a victory for the media fraternity in this country but also across the Commonwealth and Caribbean.

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This, while the Solicitor General’s department is understaffed and in need of more attorneys.

This was one of the concerns raised yesterday during a meeting of the Joint Select Committee of Finance and Legal Affairs, enquiring into the ease of doing business in Trinidad and Tobago.