Trinidad and Tobago will introduce pre-flight screenings from departing flights coming from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom in an additional effort to safeguard the country’s public health in the face of Coronavirus outbreak.
Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh confirmed that he already met with the Trinidad and Tobago ambassadors of the three countries to discuss the implementation.
The screenings will take place at the airports that have direct flights to the country: Toronto Pearson International in Canada, JFK International, Miami International and George Bush Intercontinental Airports in the US, and London Gatwick and Heathrow International in the UK.
Further meetings with the Embassies’ technical staff will be held to determine exact measures for exit screenings at the airports. As of March 5, there have been 45 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada; over 225 cases and 14 deaths in the US and over 116 confirmed cases and one death in the UK.
Exercise caution when booking international flights
He also asked members of the public to exercise caution when considering booking international flights.
“I am asking the public if you have to go on a long international commercial flight, go, but if you’re going to a birthday party, a wedding, a fete, think twice,” he said.
“I will take my own advice, I had something to do, I have cancelled it. I think the risk is too high at this point in time.”
Recently, the North-West Regional Health Authority strongly condemned the spread of false social media claims regarding the death of three people from Coronavirus.
No cases of coronavirus in Trinidad and Tobago
“There are no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus at the Port of Spain General Hospital nor were there any COVID-19 related deaths or individuals under quarantine. The NWRHA is urging members of the public to desist from circulation false information aimed at misleading the public and creating panic,” it said via a statement.
The Health Ministry also confirmed that as of March 4, all of the samples it sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for COVID-19 tested negative for the virus.
Additional travel restrictions still in place
The Health Ministry has also said that, given the rapid spread of the virus, travel restrictions have been imposed on travellers from China, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. It is also maintaining its stance that travellers who are non-nationals or not permanent citizens and recently visited those countries within a two-week period of their arrival will not be allowed entry at any of the country’s ports of entry.