Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh heads to Parliament yesterday to attend the debate on the extension of the State of Emergency.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh yesterday linked partying parents to the COVID-19 spread across Trinidad and Tobago which has now also severely impacted eight children.

During his contribution to the motion to extend the State of Emergency, the Health Minister revealed that there were now eight children in hospital with severe cases of the virus, up from the three previous cases reported last week.

“Even with the SoE, we currently have eight children in hospital,” Deyalsingh said.

Deyalsingh said that two children are currently at the Caura Hospital, three were at the Couva Hospital and another three were at Point Fortin.

“A week ago we had three,” he said.

“With the SoE, we had three, now we have eight. Who knows where this will go if we don’t have an extension of the SoE where parents go out and party, social congregation and bring the virus home to their children. That is what we are trying to prevent. To save lives, not only of adults but of our children who are now bearing the brunt of their adults’ behaviour.”

Deyalsingh said while the vaccination numbers were going well, it needed to be better to protect children.

“That is why we need an extension of the SoE,” he said.

He said on March 21, 2021, the rolling day average was three and the healthcare system was only utilising three per cent of the ambulances allocated for COVID cases.

“By May 15, we were using 52 per cent of our ambulance coverage only for COVID. What does that mean for the non-COVID patients? We have to protect our gains,” Deyalsingh said.

By August 23, he said the rolling day average dipped to 22 per cent.

“It is a good decline but it is not down to three per cent as it was in March. That is part of the rationale for an extension of the SoE. To protect every aspect of our healthcare system,” he said.

He detailed the list of lifted restrictions and how it coincided with COVID-19 numbers. He said it was too early to determine if the reopening of spas and personal services would lead to another spike but said the SoE helped reduce the daily rolling average.

He also chided United National Congress leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar for opposing the three-month extension, saying the Government foresaw “a total collapse” if it was not instituted.

“Some people see COVID as their political salvation, as their path to political power,” he said.

“Eighteen months later, after this pandemic started, world experts are saying darker days are ahead, but here we are today, listening to the UNC led by the Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar deride and insult this country by putting up the most serious argument against an extension for a State of Emergency.”

The Opposition is on record as calling for more data-driven decision making by the Government specifically related to the SoE extension and how that would improve the current numbers.

“They want statistics, let’s give them statistics,” Deyalsingh said.

Deyalsingh said that before the SoE, Principal Medical Officer of Health Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards warned that the country had three days left before it ran out of beds.

“What does that mean? It means that if you got ill with COVID, the chances of getting a bed would have been close to zero,” he said.

Deyalsingh said the COVID cases started climbing and before the SoE, it had jumped to 414 cases daily.

“An increase by 138 times. You want more data than that and more justification than that why a State of Emergency is important?” he said.

He said that the healthcare workers, doctors, nurses and police were “burned out” and it was up to the Government to speak for them.

“They are tired,” he said.

He said part of the rationale for the SoE was to keep people from moving and therefore reduce the spread of cases.

Deyalsingh also slammed the UNC for labelling the doctors “PNM propagandists.” He also that the current vaccination numbers were approximately now five per cent behind their Ministry of Health’s vaccination goals.