Trinidad and Tobago set to reopen borders

Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr Keith Rowley

The COVID-19 spike in Trinidad and Tobago has plateaued in recent weeks and now the country is preparing for a phased reopening of its borders come mid-July.

Flights have been pretty much grounded since the first week of March this year.

The country’s lockdown included the state of emergency and a curfew. But despite those efforts, the twin island was seeing an increase in its COVID-19 cases which have now been gradually shrinking.

However, the state of emergency will remain in effect with the phased reopening. Curfew hours have also been changed and will now be from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am on the weekend.

During a recent press conference, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said that the reopened borders at The Piarco International Airport are for a select few. 

Not a free for all

“The open border is not a free for all. It will be a border which will be opened for activities, the most important thing would be scheduled arrangements and persons who are vaccinated as against those who are not vaccinated would be treated like groups of people with different conditions,” he said.

Rowley explained that his government is trying to save as many lives of possible.

“We have suffered a number of loss of lives, one being too many and of course, we moved quickly from very low levels to extremely high levels, but this is the pandemic of 2021 and we are hoping to get out of it with a minimum loss of lives and of course minimum dislocation.”

Trinidad and Tobago has registered 713 deaths and 30, 183 positive cases of the virus, since the first case was reported in March last year.

By the end of June Trinidad’s Government has reported that most of the vaccines available for the first dose will be utilized. The shipment of 33,600 doses from the COVAX facility is expected by the end of July along with another Sinopharm shipment from China. In August a shipment of Johnson & Johnson vaccines from the African Medical Supply are also to be received.

So far, 176,849 persons have received their first dose and 39,142 persons have received doubled doses. By the end of July, the Ministry of Health hopes to fully vaccinate 188,900 persons.

The reopening of the borders comes as good news as the country’s economy has been hard hit by lockdowns and curfews.