Minister of National Security Stuart Young says that the Government is currently fielding “thousands” of requests from people wanting border exemptions.
Speaking at the Prime Minister’s press conference Saturday, Young said that while he understood families were eager to come home, the Government had to be careful who they let into the country.
“I understand the difficulty, we as a Government understand the difficulty that each family is facing as they try to get the family member who is outside, back in,” he said.
He said the management of who is let into the country is “quite simple.”
“It comes down to numbers and our public health system and what our public health system can control. There are two sides of it. The state quarantine is the policy that we have decided on based on the advice of our public health officials,” he said.
Everyone coming back into the country will be put into state quarantine facilities. Despite that regulation, Young said there was a “little bit of leeway.”
“That you may be under state supervision outside of a state quarantine facility but that is only a limited number,” he said.
Young said that the rules are governed by two concepts.
“God forbid that we have a spike and there is a take-off of positive cases, we have to be sure that the COVID health care system can manage it,” he said.
“Even on the state quarantine, there are a limited number of spaces.”
Young said that within the next week, the Government expected to deal with 600 to one thousand people returning home.
He said the State had a “success story” when a local employee had some five workers in Nevis that needed to return home and arranged to have the plane stop in St Lucia to pick up a visually impaired Trinidadian and bring him home with the group. They are all expected to return on Wednesday.
“His five workers will be put up in a facility where they will pay for it and the State supervision will take place,” he said.
Young said the 98 rig workers, still out at sea, have been allowed to come back and they will quarantine on the rig.
Another batch of Trinidadians, working on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship would be allowed to come home by Friday. There are over 360 people in that batch.
“The Ministry of Health is providing doctors to test everyone who arrives on Friday and then they would be quarantined on the ship,” he said.
He said returning students would be quarantined at the St Augustine campus and it would become as State quarantine facility.