Three days af­ter the Caribbean Pub­lic Health Agency (CARPHA) claimed it was the on­ly re­gion­al ref­er­ence lab­o­ra­to­ry ac­cred­it­ed to test for the nov­el coro­n­avirus (COVID-19) and al­so con­firm pos­i­tive/neg­a­tive re­sults—of­fi­cials at the St Au­gus­tine Med­ical Lab­o­ra­to­ry (STAML) say they are do­ing noth­ing wrong or il­le­gal as they too, per­form ver­i­fied di­ag­nos­tic tests for the virus.

Re­fus­ing to en­gage in a pub­lic con­fronta­tion with CARPHA and the Min­istry of Health on the is­sue, STAML’s deputy di­rec­tor Dr Shari Ram­saran said they re­mained con­cerned about the pos­si­ble en­try of COVID-19 in­to T&T as this would be detri­men­tal to the pop­u­la­tion.

Speak­ing with Guardian Me­dia at their of­fice, Ram­saran re­it­er­at­ed, “In what­ev­er way we can, we are here to as­sist.”

“Our job is cen­tered around di­ag­nos­tics and we are not known to be ir­re­spon­si­ble in health care.”

Pro­vid­ing some in­sight in­to how they came to be in­volved in test­ing for COVID-19, Ram­saran said, “We have been in touch with CARPHA and the Min­istry long be­fore a test was avail­able for COVID-19, in­form­ing them of our in­ter­est to do test­ing.”