Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh 

Trinidad and Tobago is reporting its first confirmed imported case of novel coronavirus COVID-19.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh this afternoon disclosed that a patient had tested positive for the virus.

The patient is a 52-year-old man.

He flew into the country from Switzerland on Monday and self-isolated even before he began experiencing symptoms, said National Security Minister Stuart Young.

By Wednesday, the man began experiencing symptoms and his family contacted health authorities.

A test was done and at 2.45pm and it was confirmed.

Contact tracing, which involves locating all the people the patient was in contact with, is underway, and national security is supporting the effort.

All the passengers on the patient’s flight are being contacted.


Chief Medical Officer Roshan Parasram, right, addresses the media during a press conference to inform the nation of Trinidad and Tobago's first confirmed case of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The contact tracing in being done using the protocols for tuberculosis, by Dr Michelle Trotman from the Caura Hospital.

Arrangements are being made to transfer him from his home by suitable ambulance services with all personal protective equipment, to the Caura facility.

His family members are also quarantined at home.

The patient’s identity is being kept confidential.

The man was described as having a "mild case" of the coronavirus.

Switzerland has over 800 confirmed coronavirus cases and six deaths.

The arrival of the virus had been anticipated for weeks, with the Health Ministry preparing a containment plan with the hope of delaying the spread, and preventing the upheaval that happened in others countries.

However, Wednesday’s declaration of the viral illness by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a pandemic set off a wave of fear across Trinidad and Tobago, with people panic buying supplies similar to the preparation for a coming hurricane.

Up to up 1.30p.m, Deyalsingh was telling the Express that reported of a confirmed case was untrue and that people had to stop spreading fake news, which was spread fear faster than the virus itself.

This week, Jamaica, St Vincent and Guyana announced confirmed cases with the Guyana patient, a woman who travelled from the United States, dying at hospital.

Prior to the announcement today, Deyalsingh said Cabinet had taken the decision to ban all cruise ships from visiting Trinidad and Tobago for the rest of the cruise ship season, in an effort to protect T&T from imported cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19).


The Ministry of Education is assuring that denominational school boards will be included in discussions on the way forward for review of the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination and the Concordat.

The ministry gave the assurance following criticism by the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) of the composition of the committee established to make recommendations on the matter.

Four women from the Ministry of National Security comforted a Venezuelan baby for hours yesterday at Piarco International Airport.

The baby girl was among 97 people gran­ted permission to be re­patriated to Caracas, Ven­ezuela, on a VO 9713 flight at 7.30 p.m. yesterday.

However, many migrants told the Express the process to get home was not an easy one.

In raising the issue of sanctions, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday called for a “reset” in US/Venezuela relations.

Addressing the Atlantic Coun­cil’s Front Page event yesterday, the Prime Minister said: “We would like to see a dispassionate, early review of the US “scorched-earth policy” here since as the United Nations assessment confirms what we always knew, and that is that the ineffective, harsh policies of unilateral sanctions are contri­buting immensely to widespread, additional, indiscri­minate human suffering in this Caribbean nation which needs help, a compassionate ingredi­ent which is not beyond US leadership.

The Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs was able to secure from the United States government in writing a commitment that the repatriation flight with 100 Venezuelans on a Venezuelan aircraft would not attract US sanctions.

In view of this, Young said he signed off on the approval for the aircraft to enter Trinidad and Tobago to take the Venezuelans back home at 6 p.m. yesterday.

Young stressed there was “no stumbling” in the manner in which the Government handled this issue.

Energy Minister Franklin Khan yesterday boasted that, under his tenure, the restructuring of Petrotrin became a “success story”.

The minister was speaking on a motion of no confidence moved against him by Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee at the Parliament sitting yesterday at the Red House in Port of Spain.