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Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has called on the Prime Minister to shut down the country for 14 days to contain the spread of the coronavirus and protect citizens.

Here is the full statement below:

Leader of the Opposition Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP is today calling on the Government to implement measures for a nationwide shutdown of all non-essential services and businesses for fourteen (14) days, in the first instance, in light of the trends we are seeing in the Covid-19 pandemic.

As responsible representatives of the people, it is the Opposition’s firm belief that the Government must take decisive and tough actions to preserve and protect the health of the citizens of our beloved nation.

In light of, inter alia, the following:

1. A Covid-19 positive patient at the Couva Hospital has died. We extend our deepest condolences, and we must be cognisant of the serious implications and consequences which may follow.

2. The Government has indicated that more than 20000 nationals have returned to Trinidad and Tobago in the last two weeks and are reportedly in self-quarantine. This requires that the State identifies these persons and ensure that they self-isolate.

3. Globally, the countries which have taken early, preemptive and decisive actions have proven to be those countries which have most effectively contained the rapid spread of the virus.

4. The Government has recognized that moral suasion has not had the desired effect, and in spite of repeated calls for good sense to prevail, it is clear that some have not listened.

The key to getting ahead of the Covid-19 pandemic is early decisive action, which contains the disease before it can overwhelm the public health system.

We cannot afford to treat this issue lightly. The lives of our citizens are at risk, and every measure to protect them must be taken.

This is about putting citizens first.

We remain resolute that citizens must remain calm and keep themselves and their families safe, but the State must act.

In this regard, I strongly urge the Prime Minister to immediately institute a fourteen (14) day shutdown of non-essential services and businesses, to better protect our citizens.