The number of positive coronavirus (COVID-19) cases jumped to 82 on Monday as health authorities warned that the next two weeks could prove pivotal in the fight to prevent the spread of the virus that has killed more than 20,000 people worldwide.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, speaking at the daily news conference of the Ministry of Health, said that the four new additional cases from Sunday came as a result of various factors.
He said one of the cases had close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus, while two of the cases were in close contact with a person with recent travel history. The fourth case is pending epidemiological investigation.
Deyalsingh said that the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has so far tested 539 samples including the 40 of the 68 people who had recently gone on a cruise.
“The only way we could do this is to stay home, stay safe and by doing that you keep others safe”— Health Minister, Terrence Deyalsingh
So far Trinidad and Tobago has had three deaths as a result of the virus.
“The next two weeks in this country will determine the fate of Trinidad and Tobago moving forward. The next two weeks and our collective behaviour is part of a wider war strategy to stop the enemy, that is an invisible enemy from breaching our defences.
“The only way we could do this is to stay home, stay safe and by doing that you keep others safe,” Deyalsingh told reporters.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Roshan Parasram, said two of the latest victims appear to be the first cases of ‘local spread’ and that more such cases could be expected in the coming days.
He urged the population to follow the guidelines as given by health authorities.
“I spoke about hidden cases meaning that you could have been expressing symptoms, left your home, gone to the supermarket and then in close contact with someone that you would not have known and that person now develops symptoms,” he said, adding “that is what we call a local case or a hidden case.
“So I believe that we may have a couple, if not a few more local cases over the next couple days,’ he said, reminding that public that they should act as though every other single person is infected with the virus.