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Police officers from the Emergency Patrol Response unit (Maloney) clap as they participate in the National Applause initiative at the St Joseph Health Centre yesterday.

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Proud to serve T&T.

That’s the sentiment expressed by frontline workers in the country’s battle against COVID-19 yesterday during a National Applause initiative display at the St Joseph Health Centre. The workers were also grateful for the nationwide show of appreciation and gratitude for their sacrifices.

“It’s very scary knowing how this virus can spread from person to person in such a rapid manner. But being an officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, I am here to dedicate my service,” Corporal Roland Simmons, of the Northern Division’s Emergency Response Patrol Unit, told Guardian Media.

“I feel very proud to know the frontline officers or persons that dedicate their lives in service during this time of COVID are appreciated by the country of Trinidad and Tobago.”

Acting fire station officer in charge of the Tunapuna Fire Station Ian Baptiste told Guardian Media it’s what they signed up for.

“When one joins the Fire Service, or any emergency service, as a matter of fact, to render service to country at these times, I think that it’s a sense of pride we feel. As the logo of the Fire Service indicates, in service of the people and that is what we in the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service are out here to do,” Baptiste said.

“To applaud every first responder – nurses, doctors, the fire service, prison service – all the arms of the Ministry of National Security, I think each and every officer will feel a sense of pride.”

The country’s direct charge against COVID-19 is led by healthcare workers.

House officer at the North Central Health Authority (NCRHA) Dr Jagai said the initiative boosted morale in this difficult time. However, she advised the public to follow instructions from health officials.

“We appreciate the effort that everybody came out and gave the applause and we hope they would continue to follow the advice of the Ministry of Health. We are very grateful for all the thanks,” Jagai said.

She described the current climate brought on by the virus as “extremely stressful” to healthcare workers but said they “take one day at a time.”

“We have to support each other and we are grateful all our supportive staff – our social workers, our psychologists – are able to help us through this difficult time,” she said.

The National Applause Initiative was pioneered by ANSA McAL along with ‘I Support Our Services’, ReThink and Digicel to lend support and show thanks and appreciation to those in the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19.