Key Points From The Ministry of Health’s Virtual Media Conference – Monday 31st August 2020

  • The Minister of Health, Terrence Deyalsingh announced that 160,000 Rapid Test, Antigen Kits were ordered and will be a “game changer” when it comes to testing in T&T. Minister Deyalsingh also indicated that these test kits would be used as part of the screening process, to quickly determine if persons require further testing for Covid-19.
  • The Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Faris Al-Rawi, indicated that there were some printed errors with regards to the latest public health regulations which will be rectified and the corrected regulations distributed.
  • For clarity’s sake, AG Al-Rawi stated that once you are on the public road in a vehicle or in a public space, you will be required to wear something that covers your nose, mouth and chin. There are only two exceptions to this law, persons operating a vehicle or vessel alone or children under the age of eight.
  • The Attorney General also listed reasonable excuses for not wearing a mask, which include:
  • Medical, physical or mental illness or impairment which inhibits the person’s ability to wear a mask or face shield.
  • If the person is travelling with or providing assistance to someone that relies on lip reading to communicate.
  • If the person removes the face covering to prevent harm or injury to themselves or others.
  • If the person is escaping risk of harm and does not have a face covering with them.
  • If it is reasonably necessary for the person to temporarily remove the mask to eat, drink or take medication.
  • If a request is made for the person to remove the face covering for security/identification purposes.
  • AG Al-Rawi also stated that fitness activities was NOT excluded from the mask wearing regulations, once you are in a public space, you are required to wear a mask.
  • Attorney General Al-Rawi stated that the regulation concerning mandated mask wearing in private vehicles is to facilitate effective policing of said regulation, as it would be extremely difficult for law enforcement to differentiate between PH Taxis and family cars.
  • The AG firmly declared that ALL citizens are to comply with the mask wearing regulations regardless of station, this included elected officials, protective services and even the socially displaced. Work is currently underway to ensure that masks are provided to the socially displaced.
  • When answering a question with regards to the use of face shields, the Attorney General confirmed that they are accepted as an alternative to face masks by law.
  • The AG indicated that children, 8 years or older are alone, they CAN be fined for not wearing a mask in public.

-AG Al-Rawi also advised persons who have a medical condition that impairs their ability to wear a mask, to carry proof of such as it would be up to the police officer to determine if the mask law applies to them or not. In cases where persons are fined and believe that they had a valid reason for not wearing a mask, the matter can be taken to court and contested.