The United National Congress' former MP and Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh is calling on the government to lift all COVID-19 emergency declarations.
This follows the move by the World Health Organization to no longer classify the Coronavirus pandemic as a ‘global public health emergency of international concern’ of tremendous global, regional and local significance. It means that, after three years after the Covid-19 virus unleashed an unprecedented medical and economic crisis of global proportions, the world can now look forward to some return to pre-pandemic norms.
Dr Gopeesingh, in a release, said that in the wake of this significant development, he advises the Government and Ministry of Health to immediately lift the existing emergency public health declaration that has been in place in Trinidad and Tobago since 2020.
"This, in specific reference, but not limited to, the Public Health Novel Coronavirus Regulations 2022, which mandates the wearing of facemasks in all health institutions, private and public, as well as where general places of businesses may deem necessary," Dr Gopeesingh said.
According to Legal Notice No. 189, 19 September 2022, a person can be fined a sum of $5000, or face three days in jail, for failure to wear a face mask in the specified areas.
"This is now unnecessary, and even harsh, given the WHO’s latest declaration. Notably, the United States is set to similarly lift its own national emergency declaration (re Covid-19) on May 11, 2023," Dr Gopeesingh explained.
On Friday, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh told the Guardian Media that T&T has long been on that transitional path and as such, he said no changes to the approach could be expected in the near future.