Suiting up: Nurse Paul yesterday tries on a hazmat suit, which will be worn at the Caura Hospital by staff treating anyone who may be affected by the coronavirus. —Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

More people are dying from the flu than the coronavirus, says Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh.

There have been 40 flu-related deaths in Trinidad and Tobago for this flu season to date (October 2019-May 2020).

Deyalsingh, speaking to the Express by phone yesterday, noted that in the United States some 12,000 persons have died from the flu.

“The flu is killing more people than the coronavirus but the world is panicking over the coronavirus,” said the minister.

He said the people in T&T who died from the flu are mostly the elderly with compromised immune systems due to diabetes, hypertension, etc.

Deyalsingh also pointed out that the deaths related to coronavirus and the H1N1 “swine flu” mirror each other in that it involves persons over the age of 65 with pre-existing conditions that lead to a depressed immune system so they cannot fight off the virus due to hypertension, diabetes, obesity, smoking, etc.

The minister urged persons to take all health and safety precautions to guard against the flu and the deadly virus.

The Health Ministry stated that, as of February 7, 2020, the number of confirmed influenza deaths for the current flu season was 40.

It said the cumulative number of vaccines administered to the public for this flu season was 93,119

The number of suspected influenza cases for the 2020 calendar year, as of February 14, stood at 224.

It noted that the number of suspected influenza cases for the 2019 calendar year was 3,854.

The ministry said the influenza virus is serious and is generally more severe than the common cold.

The flu vaccine is available, at no cost, at all health centres.

Persons in the following groups are particularly vulnerable to the virus and are urged to get the flu vaccine:

• Children aged six months to five years;

• Pregnant women;

• Adults over 65;

• People with chronic medical conditions (such as diabetes mellitus);

• People with chronic respiratory illnesses (such as asthma)

The ministry further stated that with respect to the coronavirus, as of February 17, the accumulated total number of flights screened on arrival in T&T was 858.

And the accumulated total number of passengers and airline crew members screened was 69,196.


Some communities in Trinidad and Tobago don’t receive water for months and even years.

So noted Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales as he tabled the Report of the Cabinet Sub-Committee Report on the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) in the House of Representatives, at the Red House, Port of Spain, yesterday.

The report has been placed in the hands of a parliamentary Joint Select Committee (JSC) as the Govern­ment grapples with the systemic “dys­function” at the unwieldy and debt-­­ridden, State-owned public utility.

Social Development Minister Donna Cox has suggested that teachers and principals taking up positions in schools in “hotspot” areas be given specialised training to help them better understand the culture of the area and its people.

She pointed out yesterday that there were stereotypes about such areas, some of which were not accurate.

India Prime Minister Naren­dra Modi has hailed the “special friendship” between India and Barbados.

Modi and Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley took to Twitter this week to praise each other.

Mottley profusely thanked Modi, via social media, for the 200,000 vaccines sent from India to Barbados, 100,000 of which were donated.