Coronavirus spores

Covid-19 restrictions will remain in place for at least another 28 days.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced yesterday that while no new “lockdown” measures would be introduced, the current measures will not be lifted as the country needs another 28-day cycle to continue to monitor the spread of the virus.

This 28-day cycle will end on October 11.

It means that beaches, rivers, water parks, cinemas, casinos and places of worship will remain closed.

In-house dining and service at restau­rants and bars will still be prohibited, schools are to remain closed and public gatherings are still limited to five people.

The country’s borders will also remain closed.

The Public Service will continue to operate on rotation, however, public servants required to be at work to aid in the preparation of the 2020/2021 budget are deemed essential workers, Rowley said.

He added that maxi-taxis will be allowed to operate at 65 per cent capacity, following a mapping of where passengers are to be seated to allow for physical distancing.

Speaking during a media conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s, Rowley said the country’s position would be reviewed again on September 28, but it is unlikely anything will change before October 11.

He said moving into another lockdown at this time would not defeat the virus.

“There is no key to lock down and get rid of the virus,” he said.

“If the numbers become ridiculously high and we are forced to go back to a lockdown, the lockdown in itself does not eli­minate the virus. What it does is slow it down to reduce the spread to reduce the effect of the virus on you. It does not eliminate it because after the lockdown, you’re going to have to come out again and be where we are right now.

“And if when we lock down and we come out here and we start over again, all we are doing is repeating the effect of the virus. So you can lock down four, five, six times, if you wish; it is just as bad or worse than the first lockdown.”

$10 billion loss

Rowley noted yesterday that apart from the money spent to respond to the pandemic, Covid-19 has cost the country some $10 billion in revenue due to lost economic activity.

“It is having a huge impact on our livelihoods because of the shutdowns, the reductions, the market collapses and so on.”

He said globally, some US$375 billion per month is being lost due to slowed economic activity, which he said has never happened before in human history.

“This is a period of great uncertainty, great harm and a period that is calling for resolve to survive it.”

Rowley urged the public to adhere to the regulations to curb the spread of the virus.

“Those restrictions are our only tool. The restriction to not gather, that is why half the Public Service is at home, so that those bodies which ordinarily would have been in taxis on the street, in the office or elsewhere, the Government has taken out half of its labour force so as to not have the virus have these stepping stones.”

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

THE MINISTRY of Health has reported one additional Covid-19 death, bringing the local toll to 98.

Two police investigators from Barbados have arrived in Trinidad and Tobago to help local law enforcement with a probe into the police seizure, and return of, $22 million from the Drugs Sou Sou (DSS) operation.