Keith Rowley

 Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has criticised Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar for what he called her attempts to politicise his Covid-19 diagnosis.

In a statement yesterday, Rowley stressed that he had no symptoms of the virus during a news conference on March 27 nor when he attended a parliamentary sitting the day before.

Rowley made the statement after the Opposition stayed away from Parliament on Friday citing concerns that they may have been exposed to the virus.

Persad-Bissessar and members of the Opposition said the Government was breaking its own Covid-19 protocols by not isolating people who were present at the two events with Rowley. Rowley announced he had tested positive for the virus on April 6.

“It falls to me to confirm that I had no symptoms on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th March as untruthfully presented by the Opposition Leader in her quest to politicise my medical condition,” the Prime Minister said yesterday.

“My flu-like symptoms first appeared on the night of April 5th. I was tested and confirmed positive for Covid-19 on the morning of April 6th. The standard protocol is that once symptoms are observed they will check contacts two to three days earlier.

“This means that the contacts in Parliament on 26th March and at a press conference on the 27th March do not qualify under the protocols for tracing. That is why she had to lie to make the case that there was a breach of the protocols and breaking of laws by the Government officials.”

Rowley said Persad-Bissessar has disgracefully played politics with lies and his medical record which he voluntarily made public.

Rowley said there is no need for any extra sanitising of Parliament. “This being so, it is now clear that it is when she returns to the Parliament, that hopefully it will be sanitised so that decency and the truth may find a seat amongst them. The country will certainly be better off for it,” the Prime Minister said.

No risk

Yesterday, epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds also assured that people who were in contact with Rowley two weeks before he tested positive for Covid-19 are not at any risk of having contracted the virus from him.

Hinds said contact tracing has been completed and all affected people have been placed in isolation.

Speaking at yesterday’s virtual Covid-19 media conference, Hinds said nobody who was present at the news conference on March 27 or the sitting of Parliament on March 26 has any cause to be concerned.

“One of the matters that seems to be circulating in the public domain is the fact that the Prime Minister would have been diagnosed as Covid-19 positive on April 6 and we are aware that the symptoms he had would have started on April 5,” he said.

“The people who would have been in contact with him at the press conference on March 27 or in Parliament the day before would fall long before the onset of symptoms, well outside that two-day window we give before the onset of someone’s symptoms when they could have been infectious.

“The queries that have come about for contact tracing around that period really doesn’t apply. Contact tracing is done two days back from the date the person was tested positive for the virus.”

Hinds said contact tracing was carried out in keeping with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

“Contract tracing has been carried out and all relevant individuals who would have been in relevant contact would have been placed into quarantine and testing would have been done.”

Rowley remains in quarantine at the PM’s official residence in Blenheim, Tobago.

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