2787248

T&T’s latest COVID-19 fatality was a construction worker who lived in Marabella and was sick for two weeks before he was hospitalised.

Information reaching Guardian Media reveals that the man, who became T&T’s 12th fatality on Monday, worked within in his community and has a relative who attends the University of the West Indies.

Residents who live in the Marabella and Vistabella region yesterday said they were concerned about possible community spread because the deceased was seen walking up and down the street before his hospitalisation.

“Even when he was sick, he was out. He was a construction worker and because of this he interacted with a lot of people,” a source with knowledge of the case said.

T&T now has 629 cases of the virus and because of the community spread the Government has updated the Public Health Regulations to make it an offence for someone to refuse to follow COVID-19 protocols.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram has said community spread of the virus has occurred because people who were swabbed and had results pending went about their lives like normal instead of staying home and engaging in self-quarantine.

Because of this, the ministry has amended the Public Health regulations so that it is now unlawful to refuse to follow the directions given by doctors involved in testing and tracking the virus’ spread. People who refuse can be arrested, fined, and jailed.

The amended Public Health regulations will run until September 12. Parasram said the guidelines would no longer be verbal advice, but one in writing, with the penalties, outlined.

The regulations now state:

The person in relation to whom the direction is given shall be informed–

(a) of the reason for giving the direction;

(b) of the period during which the person is likely to be required to remain at a public hospital or a designated facility for observation, surveillance or curative treatment; and

(c) that it is an offence to fail to comply with the direction or to obstruct a medical practitioner, a nurse, a member of staff at a public hospital or a designated facility or a member of staff of a public or private ambulance service from carrying out the direction.

(4)A person who—(a) fails to comply with a direction under sub-regulation (1); or

(b) obstructs a medical practitioner, a nurse, a member of staff at a public hospital or a designated facility or a member of staff of a public or private ambulance service from carrying out a direction under sub-regulation (1), commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of fifty thousand dollars and imprisonment for a term of six months. It also states that a person who contravenes regulations 2 to 7 commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of fifty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for six months.— RADHICA DE SILVA