Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has dismissed the idea of home quarantine for nationals aboard the Enchantment of the Sea.
His decision was in response to concerns raised by some of the quarantined nationals following the news of their transfer from the vessel to a land-based facility.
There was protest among some members of the Enchantment of the Seas on Sunday following news that the ministry will move them to a state facility for an extension of their quarantine.
The crew members aboard the ship are T&T nationals from various Royal Caribbean ships.
The nationals are concerned that their transfer to a communal facility may increase their risk of contracting the virus, should there be any active cases. They suggest, instead, that the Ministry of Health could let them sign a legal document and allow them to quarantine at home.
However, while referring to the favourable position of the country in battling the COVID-19 pandemic compared to other countries, Minister Deyalsingh said government would not abandon their current method.
“It is not the intention of this government at this point in time to go in contravention of the policies that have worked. We understand, we empathise and we sympathise with those persons on that ship,” he said.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram agreed with the minister saying the nationals needed to be placed under the ministry’s care.
“We can’t send 300 individuals to 300 households around the country—different places—and hope none of them become positive.
“We have to have them in places that are within our control. If any of them become positive then of course none of them would become a risk to the community in T&T and we’d be able to manage it much better.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the ministry said the move was as a result of three recent cases that took the figure up to 126.
But at the news conference yesterday, however, Dr Parasram added that the ship “has to leave Trinidad waters on that particular date otherwise we would have had the option to retain them on the vessel.”