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UNC MP Dr Fuad Khan has signed up with the Health Ministry to help the Government battle the COVID-19 situation after he received an email sent from the ministry to doctors asking whether or not they’d be willing to volunteer their services if called out.

And other United National Congress MPs who are doctors are also willing to assist the Government.

“I received the email from the ministry and I’ve signed up. I hope other doctors will do the same,” Khan said yesterday.

Khan said he’d been in contact with Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh to discuss suggestions, including using the anti-viral Tamiflu and anti-bacterial Zitromax at least to ensure preventative means for healthcare workers handling cases so they don’t get ill. He noted the two drugs aren’t approved by US authorities for the virus.

“T&T may have a high rate of COVID-19 cases in the region now since we’re testing more. But we’ve had no deaths. Government’s aggressive approach has curtailed spread and if people listen and do what’s advised, it can be managed,” he said, however, disagreeing with Government’s decision to close bars.

UNC MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh said he hadn’t received any email, “but I’d be quite happy to assist wherever possible to help. We’re all in this situation. We have a wide array of doctors in the UNC who can help.”

UNC MP Dr Lackram Bodoe also said he hadn’t received an email but was very willing to assist, “…In whatever capacity we’re asked to. I’m hoping some word might be given by Government to guide taxi drivers—especially maxis—about carrying excessive numbers of passengers in a cramped way, given Government’s social distancing call.”

After confirmation of the 40 additional COVID-19 cases last Saturday, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar issued a statement at 5.16 am yesterday, reiterating calls for “calm” and urging citizens to follow recommended guidelines against virus spread.

Persad- Bissessar said: “In light of the announcement that 40 returning citizens have tested positive for COVID-19, let’s keep all patients and their families in prayer while we remain calm but vigilant. In these uncertain times, fear and anxiety can have a crippling effect. I implore you to reach out to your neighbours, especially the elderly and vulnerable in your community— check up on them.”

“From the start, we in the Opposition have said this isn’t a time for politics but people-centred action, which was the premise on which I wrote the Prime Minister and met with him to discuss a plan of action. While there are those interpreting the words of Opposition members differently, our party’s representatives have demonstrated our serious approach to protecting citizens from any risks or exposure of COVID-19. We’re living through unusual times but now is the time to show our humanity. We must do our part to stop the spread of the infection and we must show concern for those whom the burden of the sacrifices will most affect.”

The UNC has released COVID-19 guidelines to protect UNC’s offices, staff and families. It’s continuing community outreach via digital technologies and an online initiative to help students prepare for SEA exams.

The Opposition leader added: “The COVID-19 pandemic is one which no nation expected, but I’m reassured by the courage of our people, that if we all work with each other and protect each other we’ll succeed in defeating this virus.”