After reports of a potential Covid-19 outbreak at Mayaro Police Station began circulating on WhatsApp and other social media platforms on Saturday, Francis Joseph, corporate communications manager of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), said it is not true. Initial reports claimed that 36 Venezuelan nationals were held at the Mayaro station last week, and two from the group were Covid-positive.
The Express called Mayaro Police Station on Sunday and an officer on duty confirmed they held the Venezuelans.
“As you know, 36 Venezuelan nationals were held here, and from the group, one or two tested positive for Covid,” he said.
“There was no contact tracing, nor did anyone go into quarantine. Officers who were in contact with those persons are still on duty,” the officer added.
“No persons have been tested. The seniors (police officers) are aware but no instructions have been given at this time for those persons who have interacted with them (Venezuelan nationals) to proceed on quarantine or to go for any test.”
But yesterday Joseph said something different.
Joseph said he had not heard of any issue at Mayaro Police Station. He denied any Venezuelan nationals testing positive for Covid-19 at the station.
He also said he had not heard any officers from the Mayaro station contracting Covid.
“All 34 Venezuelan nationals were removed from the Mayaro Police Station on Friday by the Defence Force personnel and sent to the Chaguaramas heliport,” said Joseph.
“If any of them (Venezuelan nationals) were Covid-positive, they would not have been sent with the rest of them,” he claimed.
When the Express questioned the difference in the number of Venezuelan nationals held at Mayaro Police Station, Joseph reiterated that it was 34.
When pressed if any of the Venezuelan nationals appeared sick, Joseph said: “I have not heard any of them had Covid, but they may have had flu-like symptoms, but nothing to show any of them were Covid-positive.”
Asked if PCR tests were done on the Venezuelan nationals, Joseph said he did not know.
He also could not say how many displayed flu-like symptoms.