With the Health Ministry finally releasing the locations of confirmed COVID-19 cases through its new geographic information system yesterday, residents of Central Trinidad say, while they are concerned by the numbers, they are taking precautions.
According to the system’s data, officially launched during a Ministry of Health press conference yesterday, Chaguanas and environs have seven confirmed cases, while Couva and environs have four (not including the positive patients at the Couva Hospital).
“It’s a frightening thing to know there are so many cases in Chaguanas. I believe it will pick up more and we will have a lot of casualties but I hope the Government does the right thing,” Lall Katwaroo, from Felicity, told Guardian Media yesterday.
Katwaroo said he believed the best thing for the Government to do is call a state of emergency, as he believed there were still too many people moving about, increasing the chances of more people in Central contracting the virus.
“I think in one week, two weeks, if they call a state of emergency, everything will be fine. But as long as they have the free flow of people, I think this might spread more and it will cause a lot of death,” Katwaroo said.
However, while he worries about potential local and community spread, he said, semi-jokingly, that isolation might be what kills him.
“This life I’m living, I’m being honest with you, I’m not accustomed to living this life because I don’t like the indoor life. And if this continues so, I feel I cannot live for too long.”
Isolating at home with her two grandchildren and daughter, 73-year-old Thelma Wallace meanwhile said she isn’t scared because her faith in God keeps her strong. Her faith in her fellow Felicity residents is less than firm though, she admitted.
During the day, she said she looks over her balcony for any people congregating or lingering outside unnecessarily. If they aren’t performing what she sees as unnecessary activities, she gives them a piece of her mind.
“It have people in this country taking this thing as a joke and it very serious. It’s something very serious. People walking up and down. They are bundling up together and no matter how much I tell them keep inside, it’s more they coming outside,” she lamented, shaking her head.
Chaguanas resident Dev Ramjattan expressed his belief that the Government was doing an excellent job, adding his family is taking all precautions seriously.
While looking at a copy of the COVID-19 cases map, he was optimistic his chances of avoiding the virus were increased by his family’s adherence to public health recommendations.
“We are not venturing out unless we really have to go out. So for me and my family, generally, the data is not alarming. Obviously, it’s a concern but that is if you are not following the protocols,” he said confidently.
Couva resident Jerod Williams Jr also said he was not worried, although he seemed far less informed about the public health advisories than Ramjattan was.
“Traditional medicine and the heat will fight the virus, cause the virus took place in a cold country. You understand what I’m saying?” he asked.
Asked if he hadn’t been watching the Government’s press conferences or reading the advisories, Williams said, “I don’t have time to watch television. A drink lots of puncheon. A small vile will do very good for you for the virus. The volume of the alcohol is 75 per cent, and what they using to fight this virus now?” he replies assertively.
On the opposite side of the pavement, Andre Alberdin was selling fruit and vegetables at Dollar Boys. He said knowing for a fact that there are, or there were, cases in Couva means he will take extra precaution. He, however, suggested that the economic and social fallout in Couva from the two-week ban of non-essential services was even more worrying for some than the threat of the virus.
“I know a lot of businesses close down and thing, you know it kind of hard for certain individuals who don’t have a job at this moment. It is hard for them. For the ones going to the groceries, there are certain times that are sold out. There are certain items that they won’t be able to get because of the price,” he said.
Further up the street, an elderly woman who lives with her daughter said she never imagined at her age that she would be going through something like this.