Trinidad’s 40 new COVID-19 patients went on a cruise on March 5

Almost overnight, Trinidad and Tobago’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 has jumped from nine to 49.

Forty of the 68 nationals that recently returned to Trinidad after being stranded on a Caribbean cruise ship have tested positive for the virus.

The Ministry of Health confirmed the news during a special press conference on Saturday.

“There is no risk…no change of risk between yesterday and today in terms of community spread to Trinidad and Tobago.”

— Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh stated that the group of nationals went on the cruise on March 5, despite many public advisories against non-essential travel. The cruise ship was barred from docking in Martinique and was stranded for two weeks. It was later confirmed that there were several passengers on board who had contracted COVID-19.

Quarantine facility

The nationals returned to Trinidad on March 17 and were immediately taken to a quarantine facility in Balandra. All 68 patients were tested for COVID-19, and on March 20, it was confirmed that 40 tested positive.

The 40 patients were transported to the Couva Hospital. Deyalsingh said that they have mild symptoms, but because they are elderly, they are more high risk and will have to be taken into tertiary care.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram confirmed that the patients do not pose a threat to the wider population because they have been in isolation since their return to Trinidad.

“It does not change anything. There is no risk…no change of risk between yesterday and today in terms of community spread to Trinidad and Tobago because of the steps we have taken to safeguard you all from the start,” he said.

He added that the remaining 28 are still in isolation, and the quarantine process will start again. They will continue to be monitored and tested at another point in time.