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Minister of National Security Stuart Young.

The Ministry of National Security is moving to bring home citizens from Grenada, Canada and the United Kingdom, including Europe and the Middle East.

According to Minister Stuart Young, close to 79 people are expected to return from Grenada this week.

And with other exemptions having been granted to people in some of the larger countries, Young is expecting local quarantine figures will increase to as much as 200 upon their return within the next few weeks.

Speaking during Saturday’s national health briefing, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram confirmed that 99 people remained quarantined at various facilities currently.

Responding to concerns surrounding students in the US, Young sought to reassure citizens that discussions are continuing daily with that country and no untoward actions would be taken against the students. He explained that students would be asked to leave the country only if 100 per cent of their classes are now online.

Confirming the ministry had recently seen an increase in the number of applications from people abroad to return to T&T, Young speculated it could be as a result of nationals who had been living and working afield and had most likely lost their jobs and now needed to return home.

He revealed that of the 4,000 applications received by the ministry thus far, approximately 1,000 applications had been received from people in the US.

The minister said while they continued to receive applications daily, priority will be given to those who had applied at the earliest and based on a case-by-case basis, a decision would be made.

To those wanting to leave T&T, he said permission was being granted.

He advised those seeking exemptions to email their forms to [email protected], while those wanting to leave could forward their request to [email protected]

Warning people offering bribes to ministry staffers to ensure their requests are approved, Young said this was not the way the ministry worked and he advised that anyone found engaging in this practice would be reported to the TTPS.

He also categorically denied claims by the Opposition that exemption requests were only being granted to members of the People’s National Movement (PNM), and described this as political mischief.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has urged people, especially during this political season, to continue adhering to public health guidelines to wear face masks and social distance even during walk-about and cottage meetings.