YOUNG men are being asked to “man up” as this country prepares for the second and third waves of Covid-19.
Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said he will “put it on their heads” should these waves drown us.
Deyalsingh was speaking during Sunday’s virtual press conference to update on Covid-19.
He said, “This thing isn’t over. In preparing for the second and third waves, we have no idea how many cases we are going to get. Are we going to get 500 cases? Are we going to get a thousand cases? That all depends now on the population, especially the young men of Trinidad and Tobago who seem to be bent on destroying the health care system by having Covid parties ... Man up, be a man and stop the reckless behaviour with these Covid parties and liming. Man up because you will drown us all.”
On Friday morning during a police exercise, led by Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, at Alicia’s Guest House in St Ann’s, 16 people were arrested after they were found together, contrary to the regulations of the Public Health Ordinance which calls for not more than five people to be gathered. The group, apprehended by the police, was in a pool and there was no social distancing as music played.
Asked during the press conference if there will be penalties for those who encourage people to party at this time, Minister of National Security Stuart Young said, “The answer is yes because if you are encouraging and you are aiding and abetting in persons breaking the law, you are criminally liable. So the Commissioner of Police is currently seeking the necessary advice with respect to the criminal law to go after persons who own these establishments that are encouraging people to break the law which is a law even outside of the Covdi-19 that we are facing but now, the Covid-19 Regulations as well. So I hope to see persons charged for it in the not too distant future.”
Deyalsingh said, “It is peoples’ behaviour that is driving this virus and I made the point, if young men in this country don’t wake up and man up and behave themselves, they are the ones who are attending these parties in groups of twenty-fives, thirties that will give us the second wave and the third wave. So we have to plan for that level of irresponsibility.”
He said they were building extra capacity into the system and outlined a 838 bed capacity. These include 230 in Couva, 50 in Augustus Long, 100 at Caura and 94 at Arima. He said Tacarigua, Sangre Grande and Debe UWI Campus will be mainly convalescence centres with a capacity of 50, 30 and 96 respectively.
He said Princes Elizabeth Centre will have 13 beds to support the Port of Spain General Hospital, mainly as an isolation centre and the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) will have 60, mainly as isolation quarantine for health care workers.
He said Balandra will have 40 beds, mainly as an isolation quarantine facility and convalescence and 75 in Tobago which will deal with acute, severe and critical cases.
Deyalsingh said presently none of the beds are occupied in Tobago and 18 percent are occupied at both Couva and Caura.
“So if and when the second and third waves come, we can cope with it because no one can tell me or tell you or anybody how big the second and third waves are. Every country in the world that has thousands of cases, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of cases, every country that tried to do modelling, all the models have failed to predict exactly what is going on or what will happen because you simply can’t predict how this virus behaves and you simply can’t predict how humans behave and if we continue, especially our young men who I am asking to man up and be responsible, they are the ones that are going to drive the second and third waves. If it drowns us, I put it on their heads but we are prepared, we are building redundancy into the system so if and when we get it, we can cope with it,” he said.
Deyalsingh called on the population to partner with the government in the fight against Covid-19. “The only way to reduce those tsunamis to waves or ripples is by societal behaviour, positive societal behaviour. We have to make some sacrifices, it’s difficult. Stay home, save a life … I am asking everyone, especially the young men of Trinidad and Tobago whom I see are hell bent on crashing the system, to man up, stop and think and let us together save Trinidad and Tobago.”