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Minister of Health Terrence Dayalsingh.

PETER CHRISTOPHER

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Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh has slammed social media “gremlins” whom he said have been attempting to create panic over the COVID-19 virus on the internet.

He made the comment yesterday as he addressed a social media post featuring the ministry’s letterhead which suggested that pharmacies and supermarkets would only be allowed open on specific days and times.

“I need to address the usual social media Gremlins that are hard at working trying to confuse the population, spread misinformation and mischief,” Deyalsingh said.

“Yesterday, a decision was taken to put out a new regulation which allows for the opening of hardwares, electrical businesses and plumbing businesses on a Monday, a Thursday and a Saturday from 8 am to 12 noon. Some on social media hijacked again the Ministry of Health’s letterhead and then in an effort to cause panic, included pharmacies and groceries. Let me state categorically, it does not apply to pharmacies and groceries. Citizens of Trinidad and Tobago will have access to the full gamut of medical care, including pharmacies, will have full access to food including supermarkets throughout.”

He said the decision to reduce the already limited hours of hardwares and electrical businesses on Sunday was influenced by members of the public venturing to these businesses for items and intentions which were “non-essential.”

“What we noticed and I think we mentioned this last week, the Minister of National Security and myself, we monitor the situation on an hourly and daily basis … Some people are ignoring the measures, specifically with the issue of hardwares, many people were now going into hardwares to buy paint to paint over their homes and bring workmen in to paint over their homes. That is a clear and present danger to the families living there. Inviting workmen to come in to do non-essential repairs.”

He added, “Some were saying let’s build a garage, this is not the time for that. Visit a hardware for your emergency supplies, electrical, a pipe burst, plumbing. But what was happening is that many people were just browsing, buying barbecue kits and paint that this where the ignoring of a basic concept. Everybody should be able to judge in their own minds what is essential and non-essential.”