Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley has made adjustments to the current COVID-19 mitigation measures, stating that the state cannot fund another lockdown like the one earlier this year as it would be too costly.
He says so far the latest measures put in place have worked to suppress the virus, and consultation was made with medical experts which will allow us to still be wary of the virus but will step out a bit.
The adjustments from today include:
– Gatherings of a maximum of 10 persons are now allowed (up from a maximum of 5).
– Funerals can have a maximum of 20 persons (up from a max. of 10)
– Increasing flights to Tobago from 2 per day to 6 per day.
– Continuing of the 50% rotation of public sector employees.
– Exemptions will be granted for the restarting of Caroni Swamp and Buccoo Reef Tours.
– Bars & Restaurants will continue to have no dining for another two weeks.
– No congregations will be allowed for religious gatherings at Places of Worship (Churches, Temples, Mosques, etc.) for another two weeks.
– PM Rowley says if the virus numbers are better by October 24th, changes can be made to restart activities at Bars, Restaurants and Places of Worship.
The Health Minister also clarified that despite the gatherings being increased to 10, contact sports and group sports remain prohibited as stated in the Health Ordinance Regulations.
Beaches and rivers are also remaining closed. Where there are tours for the Buccoo Reef etc, snorkeling etc will not be allowed.
National Security Minister Stuart Young says there have been an increase in the number of applications to come home.
As of October 6th he says 5,284 exemptions have been granted to enter T&T and 7,208 exemptions have been granted to leave T&T.
The PM says they are hoping that by Christmas time, the persons who were caught outside of T&T inadvertently can return home so they can look at bringing people wanting to come home otherwise.
Dr. Rowley is hoping that by the time Divali and Christmas come around that COVID levels will be low enough to “allow some kind of participation”. He says that’s why the sacrifices being made now would not lead to any rapid community spread in this period.
He also says Trick or Treating activities for Halloween in local communities need to be closely supervised so they don’t add to the COVID numbers or threaten the gains made so far.