The United National Congress (UNC) has dispelled rumours that its political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar had tested positive for COVID-19.
A statement by the UNC yesterday said Persad-Bissessar “is in good health and has not tested positive for COVID-19. These rumours are dangerous, they encourage panic and chaos and we hope that good sense will prevail on social media.”
Public concern has been mounting after two people who played prominent roles in various campaigns during the recently held General Election tested positive for the virus, including former UNC Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh.
Persad-Bissessar yesterday offered prayers and best wishes to Dr Gopeesingh.
“Dr Tim Gopeesingh has been a true statesman over the years, making significant contributions to our national development and I am sure his resilient courage will ensure he conquers,” she said in a Facebook post.
She also thanked healthcare workers for their service and encouraged citizens to follow the public health guidelines.
Guardian Media learnt yesterday that one of the most recent patients of the virus was a 37-year-old from Picton Street, Diamond Village who was seen distributing t-shirts and other paraphernalia during the UNC’s campaign in several electoral districts in the lead up to the election. He is currently receiving treatment at the Caura Hospital.
On Thursday, former Minister of Education and former Member of Parliament for Caroni East Dr Tim Gopeesingh confirmed in a Facebook post that he tested positive for the virus.
The post stated: “I wish to confirm that I have tested positive for COVID-19, the results of which were communicated to me late last night. Under the existing health protocols and guidelines, I am currently in the State’s medical care, where I am being very well managed by a frontline team of nurses, doctors and support staff, for which I am very grateful.”
Calls and messages to his phone yesterday went unanswered.
Following the news of his infection, several photos began circulating on social media of him on the campaign trail. In one photo, he poses with his arms around an elderly woman and two children – none of whom was wearing a mask.
In another photo, Dr Gopeesingh is seen closely behind former Oropouche West MP Vidya Gaydeen-Gopeesingh and former People’s National Movement (PNM) Minister Gary Hunt as they greeted Persad-Bissessar.
These developments have now led many to question the virus’ spread within the party and to its supporters with even one former UNC Minister and social media activist appealing for the entire party to now be quarantined.
Persad-Bissessar has been absent from public engagements after losing the General Election, appearing only in a video address on Tuesday in which she conceded defeat.