The Trinidad and Tobago government on Saturday announced a minor relaxation in some of the measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic but maintained that churches, restaurants and bars would remain closed until at least October 24.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, speaking at the Ministry of Health news conference, said that his administration was working towards preventing another lockdown of the country since it would result in a financial burden to the state and further cripple the economy.
Trinidad and Tobago has recorded 5,043 COVID-19 cases and 90 deaths. There are 1,776 active cases
Rowley said that based on the advice of the medical experts, the government would allow for “some adjustments” to the measures and protocols already in place.
He said the adjustments “would allow us still to be wary of the spread of the virus, but we step forward a bit.”
He said that as a result, the number of people allowed to congregate has been increased to 10 from five and that persons attending funerals will move from 10 to 20.
In addition, the state-owned Caribbean Airlines (CAL) will operate six flights daily between Trinidad and Tobago, up from the present two flights, with Rowley indicating that this would also help alleviate the economic hardship on the sister isle.
Lobbied by the clergy
Rowley said that he had also been lobbied by the clergy in an effort to have the resumption of religious services.
“It is our view that if there is no significant upward tick in our concentrations now by the 24th of this month we should be able to make the changes that would bring back activities into the churches and other places of worship and we can do a bit more for bars and restaurants,” he said.
“That being so, what you would have gathered from what I have said we are taking slow steps forward again hoping that there will be a continuation of the cooperation of the national population with the protocols which seem to be working for us…”
Rowley also expressed disappointment that public servants were staying away from their work, despite measures being put in place to ensure the service continues to function. He said, as a result, new measures will be instituted and hinted at the possibility of workers not receiving payment if they fail to turn up for work when rostered to do so.
While the country’s borders are still closed to international traffic, repatriation flights are being undertaken.