Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh will seek the advice of Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi on whether the wearing of face masks in public should become law.
The issue of whether the wearing of masks in public places by citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic should become mandatory was put to Deyalsingh during yesterday’s Ministry of Health press conference.
Deyalsingh said such a move would require the intervention of Al-Rawi since it would entail making it law to get everyone to comply in the first instance. However, he admitted it would be a hard sell.
“With a law, there are going to be sanctions. If you do that, then the question arises what is the penalty? Are you going to charge everybody on Frederick Street …in Scarborough who is not wearing a mask?”
The topic, Deyalsingh said, was a difficult one for him to decide on.
“That is why most countries are strongly recommending the wearing of masks. And I will seek the advice of the Attorney General because what you are proposing is to make it illegal not to wear a mask and that is a difficult subject for me to address off the bat here this morning.”
Asked if some people have not been adhering to physical distancing, while others have not been conforming to the Stay-at-Home orders and attending COVID-19 parties, Deyalsingh said yes.
On Sunday, a reported COVID-19 party in La Cuevas ended in tragedy when Crystal Cazoe lost her life and several others were injured when the vehicle they were returning home in crashed along the North Coast Road in Las Cuevas.
“You see it all over…not only here but all over the world,” Deyalsingh said.
He said physical distancing was now part of the new normal.
“In my own case, I have not seen my son for a month now. We have been talking on the phone. He lives in Trinidad. It is going to take a paradigm shift to adapt to the new normal and the coronavirus the same way we adapted to HIV.”
Deyalsingh also said the ministry would restart elective surgeries which they had put on hold last month.
“We are going to be working on a national plan for mental health issues coming out of COVID….how are people dealing with confinement and depression.”
He said the ministry had a framework for the national plan which the public will be informed about.
Deyalsingh also steered clear from saying what would happen to Carnival 2021 if a vaccine for the virus was not developed by then.
“That bridge will be crossed when we come to it,” he said.