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Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley addresses journalists during a media conference at the Magdalena Grand in Tobago yesterday.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley says he will not commit to a date for when this country’s borders will reopen. However, it seems this could well come after the majority of Trinidad and Tobago’s population and those of some of the major countries have vaccinated the majority of their populations against the COVID-19 virus.

Rowley made the comment at a press conference at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort yesterday, in response to questions on when the population could expect to see the reopening of the borders.

“The opening of borders was always very heavily influenced by the discovery and availability of a vaccine or vaccines. We are now at the stage where vaccine availability is now reaching a point where we could think in terms of inoculating the populations that will be mixing,” Rowley said.

He added: “The United States, our main contact outside of Trinidad and Tobago, has indicated that…by May their population should have vaccines and be sufficiently inoculated where people can mix without the fear of heavy or any infections at all. Once that happens…then the opening of borders will become a reality.”

The borders were closed in March 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and persons leaving and entering T&T have had to apply to do so. Nationals who return home are also facing quarantine at state or private facilities until Ministry of Health officials are satisfied they are free from infections.

The PM was also asked how soon the rest of the country will see a further rolling back of measures implemented to prevent the spread of the virus.

He said the Government has been opening up different areas of the country, as evidenced by the partial in-person opening of schools and limited outdoor sporting activities. He said more areas would reopen or expand as the number of infections reduces.

“As we get those results (COVID information) we take a little more risks…and go further and further,” he said.

There has been no in-person school in this country for almost one year. On February 8, the partial in-person return of students to school resumed for 4-6 formers. Since then, one student attending the Mason Hall Secondary School has been infected and the school was closed temporarily.

On February 17, front-line workers began receiving their vaccines after the Barbados government shared some of its supply from the Indian government with T&T. (CM)