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Trinidadians nationals who returned home from Guyana on Sunday leave the Piarco International Airport. National Security Minister Stuart Young has advised them to ensure they undertake the 14-day self-quarantine.

The 19,000 Trinidad and Tobago nationals and others who’ve recently returned from abroad must stay put!

This was National Security Minister Stuart Young’s urgent appeal on Tuesday after medical authorities confirmed that one local person had contracted COVID-19 from a family member who’d recently travelled.

However, during a media briefing at the Ministry of Health yesterday, Young dismissed talk of “community spread.”

COVID cases increased from 51 on Monday to 57 on Tuesday. Chief Medical officer Dr Roshan Parasram said the latest case was T&T’s first case which wasn’t directly linked to travel. He said it involved someone living in close proximity to an imported case. All cases are imported, save for this new case which arose from primary contact with an imported case, Parasram added.

Following this latest development, Young said T&T had to avoid community spread. As such, he called on the 19,000-odd nationals who arrived in T&T recently to self-quarantine. He said they haven’t been doing so and there have been reports from all over about this.

“We asked for self-quarantine but they’re not in self-quarantine. Stay put, please. We didn’t seek mandatory quarantine, but you can see how one person can spread this among us,” Young added.

“There’s no community spread. The Health Ministry’s release stated the new person was a primary contact within the household of the person who’d travelled—it doesn’t mean community spread.”

Young advised people not to leave home unless they have essential business, including going to the grocery.

“The responsible people in T&T are heeding our calls but with every importation of people, it expands the risk.”

Young said all measures taken and which Government has appealed to people to heed, are to protect “you the public,” noting in South Korea one person’s infection led to spread in 80 per cent of that country.

“Right now we’re in a good place and the only way to stay there is for every person to take personal social distancing decisions. It’ll continue changing if we don’t beat the ‘curve’ in this,” he said.

He said workplaces were taking decisions on how work is done but police, health care and other essential workers continue on the job. On public servants and ministries, Young said staff rotations have started and social distancing protocols were important. Government continues to take advice on what needs to be implemented to minimise risk, he said, but the system and essential services still need to function.

“We recognise with people losing jobs, we need to have outreach in social aspects of helping people,” Young said.