Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says Trinidad and Tobago is on the brink of losing control of the management of the Covid-19 pandemic, and that he was “personally and officially” disappointed in the response of the population.
As a result, he said that for the next two weeks, the country is expected to batten down.
Among the measures listed by Minister in the office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young which would take effect from midnight tonight to May 23, include the reduction of staff at all workplaces and a closing time for all essential business of 8 p.m.
The numbers for persons using vehicles public transport is to decrease from 75 percent to 50 percent, and people should work remotely, unless stated otherwise on the list of Covid-19 regulations.
All construction site work has been ordered to cease until May 23.
Persons gathered at public places are to be limited to five except for banks, pharmacies and groceries where there will be lines and social distancing enforced.
Mask wearing is mandatory in all public places.
He called on Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith to ensure that his police officers “encourage” the population “in all the ways you know how”, that bad behaviour has a consequence, because the price the country would have to pay would be too high.
He said that there needed to be an immediate and dramatic change in the behaviour of citizens, and the because someone in their family had not died it was “no excuse to play the fool”.
He said that over the past few days, it appeared that people had decided that the Carnival they lost in February, they would take now.
He said that each time the Government announced a package of regulations meant to slow the spread, a large number of people react to it by seeking exemptions, “to officially, or legally, or just crazily” avoid the lockdowns.
He said last week’s new regulations and appeal for people to stop moving about, appeared to have had the opposite effect.
The Prime Minister said he was amazed by the number of people who agreed with the lockdowns and who even wanted further action, were the one asking that they be excused from it.
He said the country was coming closer to a loss of control.
And to those who wanted to see the bodies of Covid fatalities in order to be convinced they were dead Rowley said: “be careful what you wish for, because the person who may have infected and killed may be inside your own home”.
Rowley also took note of the Covid deaths of father and son Mahindra and Premnath Ramkhalawan who died hours apart at their home in Siparia on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Prime Minister said “I woke up this morning holding back my own tears for that family where father and son in the same household within hours”.