A grim and heart-breaking picture of this country’s dire COVID-19 situation was painted yesterday, as the Prime Minister and top health officials revealed that without a change in behaviour, this country will be near crisis soon.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh and four of T&T’s most senior doctors all sombrely expressed their dismay, sadness and frustration with the behaviour of citizens despite their warnings and almost 200 lives being lost to the virus.
The Prime Minister again lamented over the national community’s response just days after he announced several restrictive measures meant to curb the latest wave. He was at pains to understand why people were constantly seeking a way out, or a loophole to get away from abiding by the regulations. Indeed, since the Prime Minister announced the closure of restaurants and malls, among major measures to limit people in public spaces on April 29, it sadly seems little has changed.
Just a day after that announcement, citizens were out and about, business as usual. Many are continuing to rush to supermarkets, discount clubs and finding sneaky ways to sell and purchase food and other items despite the restrictions.
There is no doubt that the restrictions will have a severe economic and social impact on citizens, especially for those who may find themselves out of work. But it is hoped the relief measures to be announced by the Ministers of Finance and Social Development will help cushion the impact in some small way until this crisis is averted.
Yesterday, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram’s team had heavy hearts as they detailed the rising hospital numbers; that an average of 271 people were contracting COVID-19 daily; more were in their 30s and 40s and even were sicker than previously. But they also revealed people are still flouting the health protocols.
No one is invincible when it comes to COVID-19. No one is immune to COVID-19. The evidence is there. The statistics are there.
The tears being shed for loved ones, like father and son Nigel and Premnath Ramkalawan, who both died hours apart from COVID, are becoming too many to count.
The country is at a sobering and critical juncture when it comes to the virus. We can no longer feel it won’t happen to us.
While we received some good news on the arrival of another batch of AstraZeneca vaccines next week and the prospect of the Sinopharm vaccine close to our doorsteps, it is not a reason to let our guards down. As the Prime Minister put it, vaccinations are not an exemption either.
The only real way out of our present COVID chaos is to abide by the health regulations.
Dr Rowley quoted Isaiah Chapter 26 verse 20 from the Bible, which said: “Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by.”
No matter your religious persuasion, let us too follow suit and stay at home until the worst of this virus is behind us.