SHARLENE RAMPERSAD and
Three police officers, stationed in Tunapuna, Princes Town and St Joseph, have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) corporate communications manager Francis Joseph told Guardian Media yesterday that the officer at the Tunapuna station is a member of the Northern Division Task Force.
He said the station was sanitised and officers who were in contact with the infected officer have been placed in quarantine.
Francis said the second officer ‘passed through’ the St Joseph station before being tested positive. That station was also sanitised.
The third officer was stationed at the Princes Town station and that station has since been sanitised as well.
However, Guardian Media was told by an officer at the Tunapuna station that after their colleague tested positive, none of the officers who came into contact with him was quarantined or removed from active duty.
The officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, said the officers were concerned about not only their own health but the possibility of infecting the public as they carry about their duties.
“It is like nobody cares. We outside working among everybody and any amount of us could have the virus,” the officer said.
Francis denied this claim yesterday, however, although he could not say how many officers had been placed in quarantine from the Tunapuna station.
Meanwhile, officers within the Southern Division will be manning the Princes Town station for the next few days while their colleagues are in quarantine. This measure was taken after a senior police officer attached to the station tested positive.
Up to yesterday evening, members of the public were not being allowed into the compound. They were advised to seek assistance from the neighbouring police stations.
Although a cleaning team sanitised the station yesterday, an officer said they were not taking any chances as the probability of infection is high. A senior officer also confirmed that they will be seeking manpower from the various stations within the division to man the station.
The officer was tested last Friday but the results were only confirmed on Thursday. As a precautionary measure, the 80-plus officers were sent home and the station closed to the public. All the officers, whether they had indirect or direct contact with the senior officer, are expected to be tested. However, up to yesterday afternoon, they were awaiting word from the County Medical Officer of Health on when they will be tested.
Several police stations throughout the country, as well as other public buildings, have been temporarily closed over the last few weeks for sanitation after persons with the virus or those who had come into contact with infected persons entered the stations.
The operations of the Point Fortin District Court have been adjusted until further notice after an employee was exposed to a person who tested positive for the virus.
A release from the Judiciary yesterday stated, “Please be advised that no one will be allowed into the court building. Vacating this building has become necessary as a precautionary measure given that a member of staff has been exposed to a person who has been tested for COVID-19 and is awaiting results. While the staff member has not been confirmed as COVID-19 positive, the usual precautions for this level of exposure have called for the current course of action.”
The building is to be sanitised and there will be no in-person hearings or activities until further notice. Virtual court hearings, however, will continue. The court may be contacted at: [email protected] (868) 223-1060 Exts. 1850-1/1853.