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Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley makes his way to address members of the media at the VIP Lounge, Piarco International Airport on his return from Ghana, yesterday. Following the Prime Minister are, Social Development and Family Services Minister Camille Robison-Regis, and Finance Minister, Colm Imbert

PETER CHRISTOPHER

Travellers from Germany, Spain and France are to be restricted from entering Trinidad and Tobago due to the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Travellers whose flights originated from Italy, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Iran and China had already been subject to a 14-day wait after leaving those countries before they are allowed to enter Trinidad and Tobago before Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley added the three latest nations yesterday.

“The Minister of Health will take the necessary steps to add those three countries to the list of locations from which travellers coming to us will fall into the protocol,” Rowley said at a press conference at Piarco International Airport’s VIP Lounge after returning from an official trip to Ghana.

He said his Government was also monitoring the situation in New York and the United Kingdom but stopped short of saying they would be added to the list. He reminded that he had warned of the potential economic fallout that could occur as a result of the virus in economies across the world.

Rowley also said while talks with BP concerning future plans during his trip went well, the oil company was among those severely affected by the dip on the US stock market this week.

The Prime Minister said while the economic turbulence as the result of COVID-19 was expected, the recent oil war which caused oil prices to plummet to US$34 “came out of nowhere.”

“Normally, what we have is on OPEC agreement supported by Russia to do a volume reduction because the market is oversupplied, so the main producers would agree to reduce production. On this occasion, there was no agreement to reduce the volume so as to stabilise the price. And the opposite happened, where the Saudis have decided to increase production and to give a $4 discount,” the Prime Minister said.

“So it’s an increase, which means you further saturate the market and you sell by discounting the price to the buyers, so the oil market right now is in turmoil.”

Rowley also announced that an MOU has been signed between this country and Ghana concerning a mutual air services agreement between the countries. He said the lack of direct transport was cited as one of the hindrances to an improved business relationship.

“That routeway, where we can link this part of the world with that part of the world would allow us to more easily and effectively carry out the kinds of things that would benefit us,” he said.

The Prime Minister also said he had “to call out” Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar for making a statement that could create a rift between Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.

During the United National Congress Monday Night Forum, Persad-Bissessar questioned if the Government’s relationship with the National Commerical Bank (NCB) was due to the fact that its CEO was related to a Government Minister.

“And for some reason, this irresponsible Opposition Leader believes that they could fabricate stories and attack the bank and that would be an attack on the Cabinet and on Stuart Young, not realising that what she is doing is rekindling a kind of hurt that existed when she was Prime Minister,” said Rowley, making reference to a call for a boycott of Trinidad and Tobago products by Jamaicans in relation to comments made by Persad-Bissessar in 2014.

However, Rowley said that Minister Young, expecting there to be some kind of fall-out, recused himself from all meetings which involved possible business activity with NCB.