Key Points From Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley’s Media Conference on COVID-19: Saturday October 24th 2020

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✅ Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley announced several adjustments which will come into effect from Monday October 26th, 2020.

The adjustments are as follows:

✔Places of worship will reopen for one-hour services. However, social distancing and a capacity of 50% must be observed at each service.

✔The entire Public Service will be out to work.

✔Gyms will reopen but must operate at 50% capacity and by appointment where possible.

✔Adults involved in education who must do lab work will be granted an exemption to continue their studies outside their homes.

✔Casinos, Members Clubs, and Cinemas will open but must operate at 50% capacity. There will be NO eating and drinking at these establishments.

✔Beaches and waters around the country as well as pool facilities at hotels and guesthouses will open during the hours 6AM to 6PM. However, rivers, ponds and community pools remain CLOSED at this time. There must be no partying or cooking at the beaches. PM Rowley warned: “Do not run to the beach tomorrow. If you do that, you will create the exact environment we are trying to avoid.” He said there will be no hesitation to close the beaches again if people do not follow the rules.

✔Bars and Restaurants remain CLOSED for in-house dining at this time. The Prime Minister called for patience from stakeholders in this sector as he noted that congregating plays a major factor in the spread of COVID-19.

✅ Gatherings of no more than 10 people remain in effect.

✅ Mask wearing remains mandatory.

✅ PM Rowley reminded the national community that we are living in a pandemic. He confirmed that he recently lost a close friend and neighbour to COVID-19. “When it comes home to you that closely, it is difficult to think of a number. I want to warn the national community not to get tired of responding properly to this pandemic.”

✅ A committee comprising the Minister of National Security, Minister of Health, and Attorney General will be established to look at the possible removal of the exemption system to allow people to come home as flights become available. These repatriated persons will be able to quarantine at their homes and monitored by Health officials. The committee will report on this possibility by November 2nd.

✅ PM Rowley confirmed that the repatriation exercise continues, but noted that these repatriated citizens are now accounting for about 10% of COVID-19 cases. He said this is why the inflow is being carefully managed.

✅ National Security Minister Stuart Young later confirmed that 5,905 exemptions have been granted for persons to enter T&T (mostly from the US, UK, Canada), and 8,046 exemptions were granted to leave T&T.

✅ Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roshan Parasram said 16 new COVID-19 Positive cases were recorded over the last 24 hours, with seven of those cases coming from a repatriation flight from Barbados. One COVID-19 death was recorded overnight.

✅ PM Rowley congratulated the planners in the health sector and health care workers for their dedication throughout the pandemic and urged citizens to continue doing their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He noted that the health sector has been working non-stop since the start of the pandemic. “They are humans, and they will get tired.”

✅ Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said T&T is once again in a “pretty good position” regarding its COVID-19 case load, with 30 or 40 cases on average per day. He said if T&T continues with 30 to 40 cases per day, it means one to two persons will die from the virus per day. He made an appeal for citizens to keep their elderly relatives safe since they are among the most vulnerable.

✅ THA Health Secretary Tracy Davidson-Celestine confirmed that there are 19 active cases in Tobago.