The Opposition United National Congress (UNC) is making another call for the Rowley Administration to be more transparent, with regard to the true statistics concerning COVID-19 in this country.

In an official statement issued today, the UNC says the health ministry must tell the country exactly how many persons have been tested for the virus, rather than simply stating the number of samples tested, daily.

The full text of the UNC’s statement on the matter, follows…

UNC—GOVERNMENT MUST COME CLEAN ON THE REAL NUMBERS

The United National Congress is calling on the Ministry of Health to disclose the number of persons who have been tested thus far for the COVID-19 virus. The statements by the Ministry have been highlighting the number of samples taken to be tested at CARPHA, this does not tell us the number of individuals.

Is it true that 707 persons have been tested in three months?

The question posed to the Government is a simple one, which requires a simple answer, how many persons have been tested.

Additionally, there have been reports in the media of patients expressing concerns over the contamination of their swab samples and having to retake them multiple times. The question is, are there any formal training procedures for the taking of swab samples? Is there a standard that is being maintained by our local Ministry that can be compared to international best practice?

Furthermore, when multiple samples have to be taken from a single patient, due to avoidable errors, it wastes valuable resources that must be preserved.

The World Health Organisation issued in February 2020 a practical “how-to” protocol for health care and public health professionals Surface sampling of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Are these protocols being adhered to in Trinidad and Tobago?

There exists the possibility that these multiple samples are being used to pad the Government’s figures to present the illusion that they are testing a greater number of people.

How many persons had multiple samples taken from them and what was the reason for multiple samples being taken as this contributes to wastage of scarce resources?

Also, why after almost three months since COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency we still cannot conduct our tests? Why must we still depend on CARPHA only?

The answers to these questions are critical to ensuring the safety of people of Trinidad and Tobago. In a pandemic, data is key to fighting the virus. The public has a right to know the data being used to inform Government policy, that is not politics but democracy.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to all frontline healthcare workers as well as members of the protective services and all other frontline workers including supermarket workers, bank employees, municipal corporation employees and everyone else during this time of crisis.

We know this is a trying time and without you we would have been in a much worse position and for that we thank you.

Stay safe and we urge all to continue following all social distancing guidelines to safeguard yourselves and your loved ones.