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Christmas Day is now two days away and with it is expected to come the last-minute rush to get gifts and food items for the festive weekend ahead. However, with COVID-19 still very much a clear and present danger, this media house hopes that citizens will temper what they do and ensure that if they must go outside, they follow all the health protocols put in place for the safety of the entire citizenry.

The scenario currently playing out in the United Kingdom and Europe should be enough to give us here in Trinidad and Tobago pause. The recently detected new strain of the virus in the UK has, according to experts, shown itself to be more potent in terms of its ability to spread than in the first two waves. In fact, it has been deemed to be out of control in Britain. This is why British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered a fresh lockdown with tougher measures ahead of the Christmas weekend, killing the festive spirit of many who had probably long planned their holiday activities.

More importantly for us here in T&T, however, is the fact that we have citizens who may have made their way back home from that part of the world over the past few weeks as the Government allowed more repatriation flights. The Ministry of Health has only just responded to this latest UK situation by implementing new protocols for travellers who are coming in from the UK. Other Caribbean countries, like Jamaica and Grenada, have meanwhile taken the more drastic action of banning flights from Britain.

But the hard fact is that the new strain could already be here. Of course, we will never know until the health experts drill down on the tests taken from the latest positive cases and make the comparisons from samples taken from the first and second wave of the virus here.

In the interim, T&T citizens now need to do their best to ensure they do not get an unwanted visitor this Christmas.

On that note, this media house only yesterday highlighted the concern by health experts over adults taking their children with them on shopping and other errands.

As we have seen in recent weeks, the virus has been detected in babies in Tobago. Earlier on in the history of this pandemic, children had been thought to have a better chance at not contracting the virus. However, this is no more and the virus is not discriminating in terms of age.

So while we understand that school is out, we urge adults to take this bit of advice very seriously.

In other words, let us do all in our power to wear masks, sanitise and social distance to ensure we can celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Friday and ring in 2021. Hopefully, the vaccines now out will be successful and finally get to us in the first quarter of the new year so we have another level of protection against the virus.