President Paula-Mae Weekes has gone into self-quarantine after her aide-de-camp tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. Based on established protocols and her high-profile position, she was expected to be swabbed for the virus yesterday.
Communications Adviser Cheryl Lala confirmed that the Ministry of Health was aware of the situation and the Office of the President will be guided by their recommendations. The Office of the President is expected to be sanitised soon and some of the staff are already operating from home as a precautionary measure.
“Her Excellency is dealing with the news in her usual forthright way. No panic. Observe all protocols. Follow the Ministry of Health advice,” Lala said during a brief telephone conversation. The President’s self-isolation period began immediately after receiving news that her close aide tested positive.
While the T&T Guardian has confirmed that the contact tracing process began immediately, the point of infection and the duration of the aide-de-camp’s infection remain unclear.
This is important, since the Office of the President had hosted two high profile events in the last three weeks. The new Cabinet was sworn in on August 19, 2020 and the Opposition Leader received her instrument of appointment on August 25.
The aide-de-camp acted as the moderator or master of ceremonies for both events.
However, based on a review of those two events, the aide-de-camp used a different podium and microphone than the politicians who were taking their oaths.
The President’s aide-de-camp, who served as master of ceremonies for the two earlier events, did not attend the ceremonial opening of the first session of the 12th Parliament on August 28, 2020, thereby limiting the risk of exposure to politicians, parliament staff, media personnel and others who were in attendance.