THA Chief Secretary, Ancil Dennis.

Loyse Vincent

Steps will now be taken to rigidly enforce COVID-19 home quarantine measures in Tobago through collaborating with the TTPS and the creation of a specially designated state facility for those who refuse to observe home quarantine measures.

After a three week hiatus, Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis addressed this and many issues during the Post-Executive Council media briefing yesterday.

He said he was “uncomfortable” with the island’s COVID-19 statistics as Trinidad was showing signs of improvement and Tobago was going in the opposite direction, with a constant increase in positive cases daily.

“When we compare ourselves with the national situation Tobago which has a population of around 14 per cent of the national population is carrying 10 per cent of the active cases currently, there are 502 active cases on the island and nationally there are 5,000 or so active cases and that is not something that we should be comfortable with.”

Dennis said he received many reports of people who are actively COVID-19 positive and are supposed to be confined to home quarantine that are seen in supermarkets making groceries or at villas and zess parties. And in an effort to curb further community spread a more stringent approach will be taken to enforce self-quarantine.

“As of now, people in Tobago must expect more frequent patrols by the TTPS and other members of the state in terms of law enforcement and national security. Expect more patrols, those who are home on quarantine expect more frequent visits and more frequent telephone calls to ensure for your own safety and the safety of others on the island.”

The Chief Secretary said the THA will also “establish a quarantine facility that will treat with those persons who may find it difficult to remain in home quarantine.”

“If you are found in breach of home quarantine then the relevant and necessary action according to the law will be taken and in most cases you will be placed into home quarantine.”

He appealed to people to continue to adhere to all COVID-19 protocols as “we are nowhere near the end of the pandemic as statistics show that many persons are being infected yet show mild or no symptoms yet they are able to still transmit the virus, and in many cases, the persons who have feared the worst are the elderly.

“Fifty persons died many of whom were senior citizens who stayed at home and took precautions but unfortunately, there were persons who were part of their households who could not stay at home due to work or chose to not observe safety protocols.”

He also appealed to people to get themselves and children between the ages of 12 – 18 to get vaccinated as he estimated that in the next three weeks only weeks 30 per cent of the island’s population will be vaccinated. And when this was compared to the approximately 400,000 people vaccinated in Trinidad, which represents 35 per cent of the population “Tobago was lagging behind.”

To date, 12,490 people in Tobago are fully vaccinated and 17,692 people have received the first dose.