The following measures have been announced as from midnight tonight, to combat the growing spread of the Covid-19 virus in Trinidad and Tobago.

The measures were announced by Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh at today’s virtual press conference.

The measures will end on Sunday, May 16.

• There will be no public gathering for entertainment and concerts.

• The Public Service will revert to 50 per cent attendance at workplaces, on a rotational basis. It will take tens of thousands of person of the transportation grid and at work places which is one of the areas where the spread is happening, said Deyalsingh. There is no order regarding the private sector.

• At places of worship, where there is also proof of spread, numbers will be reduced from 50 per cent to 25 per cent. Services and prayers will be limited to 90 minutes. A special appeal was made to keep masks on at all times.

• Weddings and funerals will now be limited to ten persons.

According to Deyalsingh the decision to enforce these measures was taken after a meeting among Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Stuart Young, Chief Medical Officer Roshan Parasram and himself. Held at 9.a.m. this morning, those at the meeting considered information concerning the rising number of COVID-19 cases, hospital occupancy and increased gatherings.

He referenced Dr Avery Hinds who earlier stated that contact tracing revealed that cases were being linked to places of worship, bars and workplaces.

“All our measures are based on the data we have contracted. You would have heard Dr Hinds speak about places of religion, bars and bar hopping. We look at our hospital occupancy rates, which are now 27 per cent. At one point in time about one month ago it was 2 per cent. We look at our doubling rates and most importantly we try to gauge public compliance which is the most effective measure to keep cases down. So the evidence which cannot be ignored has been presented. This morning the team led by the Honourable Prime Minister this morning at 9 a.m. we looked at the evidence which has just been presented to you.”

The rollback in measures, he said, was part of the Government’s duty to protect the vulnerable.

“We as a Government have a solemn duty to protect the population, to continue to protect the most vulnerable especially the elderly who bear the brunt who face the most critical challenge in keeping them alive. We want to protect our children and we want to protect the long-term economic strength of our Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

Newly appointed National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds said he had called a meeting with Police Commissioner Gary Griffith this afternoon, to ask that the police enforce the regulations, since it was necessary.

He said over the next three weeks, he was asking that special teams of officers be put together in every division in Trinidad and Tobago to enforcement the regulations and report daily.

He said people would be made to "feel it in their pockets" if the regulations were not followed.


The Covid-19 death toll jumped again yesterday, with five added deaths being reported by the Ministry of Health.

The death toll from the virus now stands at 196.

The latest deaths included one elderly male and one middle-age male, both with co-morbidities; as well as two middle-age males and one middle-age female, without co-morbidities.

Pandemic tears.

Both Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh yesterday confessed to being reduced to tears in the face of their “disappointment” over “the response of the national community to pandemic restrictions” and the tragic consequences that flow from it.

The Government deepened and tightened its containment measures from midnight last night, announcing that with the exception of essential services the country goes into extended lockdown until May 23.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has called on the Government to engage all stakeholders to form a united front to fight Covid-19.

“This is a time for humility and not a time for arrogance. The UNC and many stakeholders have been trying to assist since the beginning of this crisis, but the Government has pursued its own way,” Persad-Bissessar stated in a news release yesterday.

A gift of 100,000 vaccines from China will make its way to Trinidad and Tobago from next week, says Health Minister Terrence Deyal­singh.

He added that some 33,600 AstraZeneca vaccines will also be arriving at Piarco on Monday from the COVAX facility.

Speaking yesterday at the Prime Minister’s news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Deyalsingh noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had given approval to the Sino­pharm vaccine for emergency use.

NATIONAL flags across the country will be flying at half-mast today as former minister of energy and energy industries Franklin Khan is laid to rest.

Khan’s funeral will be held from 10 a.m. at Aramalaya Presbyterian Church in Tunapuna, with only ten people at the service in keeping with Covid-19 regulations.