December 02, 2021, 03:05:52 AM

Author Topic: Coronavirus Thread.  (Read 6497 times)

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Offline Flex

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #60 on: August 20, 2020, 04:38:04 PM »
Yes, you can leave T&T – for a price
RIA CHAITRAM (NEWSDAY).


People travelling out of T&T have to pay a hefty price for their tickets to get to their destinations, as well as grappling with the procedure for exemptions.

Covid19 mitigation measures have seen stiff restrictions on travel movements across borders. In March T&T shut its borders completely, with only nationals granted exemptions by the Ministry of National Security allowed back in.

But it's a different story for Trinis and others trying to leave the country, to return to their universities or homes overseas.

Leaving the country can be less difficult in some ways than getting in. Several travel agencies have been offering charter flights to Barbados, St Lucia, the US and the United Kingdom.

Shanti’s Travel Service is one such agency. One of its agents, who wanted to be identified only as Ravina, told Newsday they have been getting most of their bookings from students.

She said, “We offer flights from Trinidad to Barbados on an eight-seat passenger plane, and from Trinidad to St Lucia on a 30-seat aircraft.

“All passengers must be tested for covid19 and have gone through the process to get exemption, at least in the first stage. We assist, where necessary, for the exemption to be granted.”

When asked how long it takes for an exemption to be granted, Ravina said, “When in a business like this, you know how to get the job done. Final exemption usually takes about two weeks.”

Using Shanti’s Travel Service, the cost of a chartered flight to Barbados falls between $5,000 and $6,000 and for St Lucia it is about $4,330 per person. She was unable to give prices for flights to the US and UK.

At other travel services it ranges from $2,000-$4,000 for Barbados, $3,000-$3,500 for St Vincent, $4,000-$6,000 for Jamaica and US$1,850 to Amsterdam and then London. They said flights leave only when there is a full aircraft, so it's difficult to plan in advance.

Newsday contacted several travel services, which said the majority of bookings have been students trying to get back to the US, UK and Canada.

One UK national who has been trying to get home since April said while she understood the reasons for closing the borders, assistance from the Ministry of National Security was not forthcoming.

She chose to remain anonymous, but said her reason for visiting T&T has been for work as a writer and performer. Attempts to get help from the British High Commission with repatriation have also been unsuccessful, she noted.

She told Newsday on Tuesday that her next option was a chartered flight, but the price of getting to Barbados and then the UK was too much.

“It is costing as much as US$1,000-$1,100 to Barbados and nearly another US$1,180 to the UK.

“That is exploitation and piracy," she charged, "and there were no guarantees, no insurance and no refunds, because flights can be cancelled if the flight is not filled and the chartering service sees it unprofitable.”

She said covid19, despite the many challenges, had given the region an opportunity to put in place a proper transport system between the islands.

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #61 on: August 24, 2020, 12:44:28 AM »
Trinidad and Tobago crosses 1,000 covid19 cases
RYAN HAMILTON-DAVIS (NEWSDAY).


THERE were 77 new cases of covid19 and one additional death reported in Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday, raising the total amount of deaths to 14, the number of active cases to 828 and the total number of covid19 cases to 1007.

The Ministry of Health in its 10 am update said 33 additional people tested positive for the virus. Its 6 pm update said another 44 people tested positive for the virus – 36 in Trinidad and eight in Tobago.

The latest death was an adult male with pre-existing health conditions.

The ministry reported that 166 patients are being treated at the Couva and Caura hospitals for covid19 with 275 patients being admitted to the hospital, while there are 279 patients at step-down facilities in Sangre Grande, Balandra, Debe, Tacarigua, St Augustine and at NAPA.

In the Couva hospital there are six patients in the intensive care unit and three in the high dependency unit.

So far, 165 recovered patients have been discharged from the State's care.

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

Offline ABTrini

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #62 on: August 24, 2020, 01:00:34 AM »
This is no joking matter - TnT  did very well to. mitigate and create parallel health facilities to deal with this.

Imagine a " boneheaded' comment by a newly elected MP from the opposition allegedly referred to this situation as karma to the ruling party? The immaturity insensitivity and ignorance  once more shows why some people dose be sore losers.
 Is it karma when  elbourne Australia resorted to a lockdown last month or NZ?


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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #63 on: August 29, 2020, 01:54:33 PM »
PM: Not wearing a mask illegal from Monday
CAMILLE MORENO (NEWSDAY).


As of Monday, Independence Day, it would be illegal to be out in the public without wearing a mask, the Prime Minister said on Saturday.

Dr Rowley said with the passage of legislation on Friday, and the debate and expected support in the Senate on Saturday, the law will go into effect in the coming week.

He said wearing masks would help to suppress the spread of covid19, which up until Saturday had claimed 19 lives, with more than 800 active cases, and more than 1,500 cases reported.

"We all have to assume we care carrying the virus," he said in a media conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's.

He said it was the reason why the Parliament met to debate and pass legislation to make wearing masks the law.

"It is part of your clothing now," the Prime Minister said. He said he was impressed by the designs and "colour coding" of masks being produced locally.

"We have made the law as such you will have to protect the rest of the population from your irresponsible conduct," he said.

The law allows a magistrate to impose as maximum $250,000 fine for offences related to not wearing a mask.

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #64 on: August 30, 2020, 12:36:10 AM »
PM to bring stranded citizens back home.
By Sharlene Rampersad (Guardian).


“God is hearing our cries.”

This was the reaction from one of approximately 2,000 T&T nationals stranded abroad since this country’s borders closed on March 22. The citizen was responding to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley's plans to meet with the National Security Ministry this week to discuss the repatriation of citizens. He was speaking at a press conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s on Saturday.

The PM, however, warned that while exemptions will be granted, transport home is another issue.

“We are going to maximise the amount of exemptions granted, the transportation system is another story because borders are closed and there is no scheduled transport, but given where we are at now and with the use of home quarantine our case to keep people outside has been considerably reduced and we will grant the exemptions in a much more liberal way,” Rowley said.

Just two weeks ago, on August 15, after this country recorded a huge spike in COVID-19 cases, National Security Minister Stuart Young announced that the Government would be stepping back from its repatriation efforts.

The PM, announcing the decision to maximise exemptions, said this “chapter” needs to be closed and those who live in T&T but were stuck abroad when the borders were closed on March 22 will be the first priority.

He said the Government will try to assist with repatriation flights as it did for returning university students.

“After eight months we really need to close this chapter in a more effective way to those persons who have been on the outside have been very patient, we need to bring them home as quickly as we can but we do have transportation issues.”

When asked if those returning nationals would be allowed to quarantine at home as a Ministry of Health's policy change made earlier this week has allowed COVID-19 positive patients with mild symptoms to quarantine at home, Rowley said, “We haven’t reached there yet.” He said that decision will rest with the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Roshan Parasram.

“I am just giving here the health department far more work to do, but I think we really must get these people home,” he added.

'We hope he sticks to his word'

The Sunday Guardian reached out to the group “T&T Nationals Stuck Abroad: Helping Hands” for reactions to the Prime Minister’s announcement. T&T national Sheena Millet, who lives in France but has been advocating for nationals stranded abroad to be allowed to come home, said the group hopes Rowley sticks to his words.

Millet’s mother has been stranded in Florida since March. She believes there are approximately 2,000 citizens stranded abroad who have been trying to return home for months.

“We are hopeful that he sticks to his words and hoping repatriation flights can be organised. (Of course, paid by us) because the cost of private jets to get home is more than any of us have to spend now that we have been here over six months now,” she said.

Another citizen said, “We are so relieved and hoping the PM sends repatriation flights as private jets can go into the thousands of US dollars to get home. I've been stuck in Seattle, Washington, since March and I have been out of medication for my heart, it's only God and prayers that I'm still alive, this should have been done a long time...I'm happy to hear this news, the depression and mental frustration was real.”

Abby, who is also stranded abroad, described the announcement as a "balm to her wounds."

“Like most nationals, I am a bit hopeful now that the Government has addressed us nationals stranded abroad. I am feeling a slight relief but I’m also cautious because I can’t fully trust what the Government is saying until I am home. I have been here since March,” she said.

Dr Karen Sohan, who has also been stranded abroad, said the displaced citizens have banded together to assist each other and said while the Government’s response to their plights has been disappointing to date, they continue to hold on to hope that they will be able to come home soon.

“The displaced nationals are quite a proactive group in many ways; they look after the neediest who have been stranded as well as we have devised a working plan based on current international guidelines as well as local policy, which has gained the support of many health care professionals in Trinidad. This will be hand-delivered to the ministries as they have failed to respond to e-mails. While the Government’s response has been disappointing to date, we remain focused on getting back to our beloved country so we welcome any efforts,” Sohan said.

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #65 on: August 30, 2020, 01:12:54 PM »
'We cannot survive a second lockdown'
By Joel Julien (Guardian).


Walking into the upstairs food court at Trincity Mall during lunchtime earlier this week the place looked like a ghost town.

Normally, a beehive of activity, especially during the vacation period, the food court was a shadow of its former self.

While many of the food outlets remained open, with staff prepared to serve, the customers were absent.

Also, notably missing were the tables and chairs previously provided for dining customers.

The doors to the cinema and the arcade remained shut.

But this situation is not unique to Trincity Mall.

Many businesses have been suffering this plight as the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions put in place to halt its spread in the country have made this the norm.

Two weeks ago, prime minister Dr Keith Rowley announced new restrictions, including all in-house dining in restaurants and bars being stopped and the closure of cinemas, as the country continues to face a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases.

Those restrictions are expected to be in place for at least the next two weeks.

With the numbers of positive cases rising daily, many fear that further restrictions may be implemented.

But what will this mean for businesses?

“We cannot survive a second lockdown,” Jai Leladharsingh, the manager of the Couva Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce and coordinator of the Confederation of Regional Business Chambers told Guardian Media.

“We are scared,” Leladharsingh said.

Leladharsingh said businesses are still trying to recover from the last time this country had to put a lockdown in place and the situation caused “economic chaos”.

The first COVID-19 positive case was recorded in T&T on March 12.

And on March 21, the government announced restrictions on gatherings at public places and restaurants and bars were ordered closed until further notice.

On March 29, a “Stay at Home” Order also came into effect.

“The government needs to come with a proper education programme regarding managing COVID, but at the same time, they need consistent dialogue and engagement with the business community on what support we need to get, that is the issue right now because consumer demand is low and confidence is weak and how can we work together, not the state alone, but the state and other stakeholders to get things done,” Leladharsingh said.

“Right now we cannot manage another lockdown but if you want to put strict laws to manage the health protocol and you are having the police to ensure the protocols are adhered to then that is not a problem,” he said.

Ricardo Mohammed, president of the Eastern Business and Merchants Association, said he believes the country may have jumped the gun with the first lockdown.

“During the first lockdown, my personal belief is that it was not structured properly in terms of the closure of businesses when we were dealing with import cases. I think consideration should have been given to what import case spread means and they should have examined what were the possible outcomes for community spread and even after the first 21 days of the initial lockdown they could have opened the doors for other commercial activity being proactive enough to put stringent measures in place, for example, wearing masks because we did not have community spread at that time,” Mohammed said.

“It is my view that we had an unnecessary lockdown that was detrimental to the economics of this country by not strategically planning effectively for that,” he said.

Mohammed said that 90 per cent of this country’s small businesses were severely impacted by the first lockdown.

He said this would have resulted in staff being laid off.

“If we are to undergo a proper lockdown now it will hurt the businesses significantly but I think it should be strategically planned in such a way that we allow the essentials to open, we allow other businesses to open providing that they abide by all strict COVID-19 protocols I believe that if businesses do what they are supposed to do by observing strict COVID-19 protocols they can function just like any other business that is functioning and they could still have the potential to allow their businesses to survive,” he said.

Mohammed said if proper measures are put in place even bars should be able to operate within certain guidelines.

“With proper stringent checks, for those who do not abide by the policies of COVID-19 then shut those people down,” he said.

Mohammed said when the country had the first five community spread cases then a 21-day lockdown should have been implemented.

Kiran Singh of the Greater San Fernando Chamber of Commerce said the micro and small economies are the hardest hit by the restrictions.

“What we have witnessed and what we have experienced is that during the first lockdown after the advent of the pandemic our businesses suffered tremendously because we had to close all of our doors for basically three months so there was not any business activity, no commercial activity in the MSME’s sector in particular,” he said.

“San Fernando depends a large part on the retail sector to thrive within the economy and what has happened is when the economy was reopened in June we were not able to even resuscitate the business sector and the spike in actions within the last couple of weeks has created not only fear but it has dampened business activity to the point where we have not been able to recover from the initial lockdown,” Singh said,

Singh said the COVID-19 may be here to stay and therefore we have to find a way to operate with it.

He also applauded the decision to discussion mandatory wearing of face masks in the Parliament.

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

Offline Flex

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #66 on: September 17, 2020, 04:01:44 PM »
A Chinese virologist claimed the coronavirus was 'intentionally' released. Turns out, she works for a group led by Steve Bannon.
awoodward@businessinsider.com (Aylin Woodward)
Business Insider


A strange new paper claiming the coronavirus was a "laboratory product" quietly made its way into a repository of preliminary research on Monday.

"The laboratory creation of this coronavirus is convenient and can be accomplished in approximately six months," the paper's authors, four Chinese virologists who fled to the US earlier this year, wrote.

Li-Meng Yan, the lead author, went a step further in a Tuesday interview with the Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

She told Carlson that her government had "intentionally" released the "man-made virus" — comments that echoed a fringe conspiracy theory that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump alluded to in May.

But a closer look at Yan and her coauthors' work shows they're affiliated with a pair of nonprofits based in New York City, the Rule of Law Society and the Rule of Law Foundation, that were led by the former Trump strategist Steve Bannon before his arrest in August.

Neither organization has any history of publishing scientific or medical research, and the new paper has not been peer-reviewed by other scientists.

Most experts think the coronavirus originated in bats before jumping to people; one study found that it shared 96% of its genetic code with coronaviruses circulating in Chinese bat populations.

Yan's group, however, suggested that people made the virus using existing bat coronaviruses as "a backbone and/or template."

Bannon cofounded both groups with an exiled Chinese billionaire

Bannon was arrested in August on charges that he defrauded donors who gave money to the "We Build The Wall" campaign. In January 2019, helped found both Rule of Law groups with an exiled Chinese billionaire, Guo Wengui.

Guo also founded the site G News, which has published multiple (debunked) stories claiming the coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab and was purposefully spread by the military.

Bannon got $1 million in 2018 for a year's worth of "strategic consulting services" involving G News, Axios reported.

Guo fled China for New York in 2014 after the Chinese Communist Party accused him of bribery and fraud. He had previously worked with Bannon to accuse CCP officials of corruption.

Yan, formerly a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hong Kong, told Fox News in July that she was one of the first researchers to study the new coronavirus. But Yan left the university — and China — in April, because she began to worry for her safety after suggesting the CCP and the World Health Organization knew about the virus' community spread before December, she said.

"I know how they treat whistleblowers," she told Fox News.

In her interview with Carlson on Tuesday, Yan said she had evidence that showed how China engineered the virus, adding, "I am the target that Chinese Communist Party wants disappeared."

The University of Hong Kong said in a press release in July that Yan "never conducted any research on human-to-human transmission" of the coronavirus before she left and that her view "has no scientific basis but resembles hearsay."

'Poppycock dressed up' as science

Other experts were quick to speak out against the claims in Yan's paper.

Carl Bergstrom, a University of Washington biologist who first noticed the paper's connection to Bannon, called the research "bizarre and unfounded."

There's no evidence supporting the theory that the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was genetically engineered. A March study concluded based on genetic analysis that the coronavirus wasn't a hodgepodge of existing coronaviruses, as Yan and other supporters of the theory have suggested.

Those researchers wrote that their work indicated that it "is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus," adding that "the genetic data irrefutably show that SARS-CoV-2 is not derived from any previously used virus backbone."

On Tuesday, the lead author of that study, Kristian Andersen, said Yan's group had cherry-picked data in support of their conclusion, adding that it was "poppycock dressed up as 'science.'"

Twitter, which has a strict policy on tweets containing disputed claims about COVID-19, suspended Yan's account this week.

The virus probably didn't leak from a lab either

We still don't know how the coronavirus pandemic started, or where — and that uncertainty creates fertile territory for unsubstantiated theories.

Early on, many people thought an intermediary animal species first passed the coronavirus from bats to people in a wet market in the city of Wuhan, China, in December. But it turned out that coronavirus infections were spreading in the city weeks before the cluster of cases linked to the market arose. That means the market probably facilitated a superspreader event but wasn't the pandemic's origin site.

Another theory suggested that the coronavirus had animal origins but that a sample of it stored at the Wuhan Institute of Virology accidentally leaked.

Researchers at that institute do study infectious diseases, including coronaviruses, which led to scrutiny from members of the Trump administration earlier this year.

There's no evidence, however, that the coronavirus came from a sample stored at that lab.

"It's highly unlikely this was a lab accident," Jonna Mazet, a US epidemiologist who has worked with and trained researchers at the Wuhan institute, previously told Business Insider.

Mazet said she helped the staff there develop and implement a "very stringent safety protocol."

What's more, Shi Zhengli, a virologist at the institute, said none of the coronavirus samples that had been stored there matched the new coronavirus' genome.

"That really took a load off my mind," Shi told Scientific American in April. "I had not slept a wink for days."


Steve Bannon, a former chief White House strategist.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP


The Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty

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Offline Flex

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #67 on: November 22, 2020, 03:23:41 PM »
$30M COVID bailout for bars, restaurants, self-employed
By Loyse Vincent (T&T Guardian).


Government has now allocated $30 million to bail out restaurant and bar employees and people who are self-employed.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced on Saturday that the Government has allocated an additional $10 million for employees of bars and restaurants who have "lost their jobs and suffered a reduction in income.” He said $20 million has also been allocated for people who are "self-employed and are now unable to make ends meet.”

Rowley was speaking at the COVID-19 press conference held at the Division of Community Development, Enterprise Development and Labour conference room at Glen Road, Scarborough.

He said while people were expecting that the Government would remove the restriction on the in-house consumption of alcohol at bars and restaurants, a decision was taken to maintain the measure because "bars are in the business of encouraging congregation and congregation is the danger."

The Prime Minister said that the Government also understands the position that those affected now face.

"We are restricting them to protect all of us, so we need to share the burden with them. Therefore, I have asked the Minister of Finance to find an additional $10 million to specifically deal with employees of restaurants and bars."

Bar and restaurant owners who would have lost or are losing their businesses were encouraged to avail themselves of the finances previously allocated for "small business support." Dr Rowley, however, assured that the Government would treat bars and restaurants with some element of urgency.

The Prime Minister added that the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services will also provide assistance for citizens who are "suffering additional hardship."

According to the Prime Minister, the $20 million will be available for disbursement among people who were making a living through avenues which no longer exists. He referred to vendors at sporting events and similar small business owners throughout the country.

"There were citizens making it on their own, making that way living on the margin and that margin has receded from them and they are on the brink of destitution."

He said each case will have to be verified but the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services will be "relatively generous between now and January," especially where children are involved. The Prime Minister also publicly appealed to public servants to "be empathetic" when people come to the various public offices seeking to apply for the funds.

Meanwhile, casinos will now join cinemas by allowing the consumption of food in-house.

Announcements:

*No Christmas parties at government offices, state corporations

*Private sector, families asked to do same

*$10 million to assist those affected by bar restrictions

*$20 million to assist affected self-employed

*Food services to resume in casinos

*Bars and restaurants will continue to have takeaway services only.

*Hunting to resume

*T&T’s borders remain closed, but exemptions continue to be granted for nationals choosing to return home as well as for those who wish to leave.

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #68 on: January 22, 2021, 01:40:44 AM »
T&T national brings new COVID variant from UK
By Rishard Khan (T&T Guardian).


A repatriated national has brought the new strain of COVID-19 (Variant B117) from the United Kingdom into the country, increasing fears now over whether health officials will be able to control its spread.

In a release yesterday, the Ministry of Health confirmed the mutant strain was found in a repatriated national.

“The presence of the variant was confirmed via a gene sequencing study at the Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, which has been testing COVID-19 positive samples collected since September 2020,” the ministry said.

The ministry noted that all COVID-19 protocols were observed to prevent the strain’s introduction into the population.

“The patient is a returned national who travelled from the United Kingdom. As per existing quarantine protocols, the national provided a negative PCR test which was taken 72-hours prior to departure from the United Kingdom. Upon arrival in Trinidad and Tobago, the national was immediately placed in state quarantine, in a single room,” the release said.

“The patient was transferred directly to an isolation area at the Couva Hospital and Multi-training Facility once the positive COVID-19 result was confirmed.”

In response to the emergence of the new strain, the ministry had increased its quarantine protocol for travellers coming into T&T within 14 days of leaving the United Kingdom. It extended the mandatory quarantine period at a state facility or state-supervised facility upon arrival in the country from seven days to 14.

The discovery of the variant in a repatriated national would not have come as a surprise to health officials, however, as almost one month ago, on December 23, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram said the probability of it occurring was low but not impossible.

“Well, I suppose there’s a possibility that anything can happen. But because our borders remain closed, because we manage the repatriation through testing and quarantine, it is hopefully less likely to get in than other countries who have remained with an open border,” he said.

The COVID-19 variant emerged in September and was confirmed by UK officials on December 14. It has been responsible for heightened lockdowns in that country. There is currently no evidence that the strain is more deadly, virile or compromises vaccines. However, experts believe it is at least 50 per cent more transmissible - spreading more easily from person to person. It is one of three strains currently engaging the attention of experts globally along with the South African variant and Brazil variant.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention noted that while it may not be more deadly, “an increase in the number of cases will put more strain on health care resources, lead to more hospitalisations, and potentially more deaths.”

It has advised rigorous and increased compliance with public health mitigation strategies, such as vaccination, physical distancing, use of masks, hand hygiene, and that isolation and quarantine will be essential to limiting the spread.

Commenting on the situation yesterday, Professor of Veterinary Virology Dr Christopher Oura said the strain’s discovery is cause for concern.

“Trinidad and Tobago should be worried. I’m currently in the UK and this virus, this new variant, is really running a riot here. It is able to transmit more efficiently than the original variant and we’re seeing that at the moment,” he told Guardian Media. 

“It’s certainly not a variant we want to get into Trinidad and Tobago (population). We want to do our level best to stop it coming in.”

The discovery also had Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley admitting yesterday that he was concerned. 

Speaking after a tour the APT James in Scarborough, Tobago, Rowley said it should be a reminder that “we are in a pandemic” which is not getting better.

Rowley said he has been worried from day one of the pandemic and begged people to adhere to the public health protocols in place.

“The difference in the new strain is that it is easier for the virus to be transmitted, so if you were skylarking with the mask, if you were skylarking with the social distancing and if you were skylarking with the partying, it is easier now to be infected,” Rowley said.

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Offline ABTrini

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #69 on: January 22, 2021, 07:20:57 AM »
Not getting this- are therenot protocols in place to ensure that one has to be tested negative prior to flying into the country?

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #70 on: January 27, 2021, 06:45:35 AM »
Deyalsingh: No Covax vaccine allocated to Caribbean yet
SEAN DOUGLAS (T&T NEWSDAY).


HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said T&T is pursuing the acquisition of covid19 vaccines by three different means, including the Covax facility, but this latter has not yet allocated any to the Caribbean region. He was replying to an urgent question on Tuesday in the Senate from Opposition Senator David Nakhid, who asked whether the recent emergence of a more transmissible strain is expected to hasten delivery of a vaccine shipment to T&T.

Deyalsingh replied, “The ministry has been aggressively pursuing three options.” He said the Government paid $1.4 million into Covax last September.

“The officials of Covax have indicated that the allocation of vaccines to each country should be completed by January 31, 2021, which is a few days away. Thereafter the purchasing and distribution of vaccines would then be finalised.”

Secondly, he said T&T has had bilateral talks with since last September with vaccine manufacturers including Pfizer, Oxford-Astra Zeneca, Sinopharm, Moderna and Sanofi.

“And thirdly, quite recently, since January 2021, Caricom recently came up with a Caricom initiative where T&T is a registered purchaser of vaccines.

“Between the three measures, we have been working since July 2019 to expedite the delivery of approved vaccines into T&T.”

In a supplemental question, Nakhid asked which brand of vaccine Covax would allocate to T&T.

Deyalsingh said by month-end, Covax would make that determination.

Nakhid scoffed, “So by your assertion, we paid $1.4 million and we don’t know what type of vaccine we are getting?”

Deyalsingh replied, “The $1.4 million paid into Covax was to help with research and development across a platform or portfolio of 12 vaccines.

“It is because of that reason, vaccine manufacturers were able to expedite the clinical trials. In the past, companies had to raise their own financing. If Covax was not around and countries did not pay into research and development, we would not be in a position now to even talk about vaccines. So that was the purpose.”

He reiterated that the $1.4 million went toward vaccine research.

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

Offline Flex

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #71 on: February 14, 2021, 08:26:19 PM »
CDC director says U.K. variant could be "dominant strain" in U.S. by March
Melissa Quinn
NBC NEWS


Washington — Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), predicted Sunday that a new strain of the coronavirus that was first identified in the United Kingdom and has since been detected in the U.S. may be the "dominant strain" here by the end of March.

In an interview with "Face the Nation," Walensky said there are more than 1,000 cases of the U.K. variant, known as B.1.1.7, in 39 states.

"We know now that, or we estimate now that about 4% of disease in this country is related to B.1.1.7," she said. "And we have projections that it may be the dominant strain by the end of March."

Public health officials warn the U.K. variant is more transmissible and argue the new strain, as well another identified in South Africa and a third from Brazil, underscores the need for the American people to get quickly vaccinated.

Walensky said pharmaceutical companies are adjusting their science to neutralize the B.1.1.7 variant, and the CDC is watching the epidemiology with people who have already received their coronavirus vaccines.

"But we're not waiting for that," she said. "We're doing the science to scale up different vaccines in case we either need bivalent vaccines, that is a vaccine that has two different strains, or booster vaccines. Both are happening."

While Walensky predicted the U.K. strain could be dominant by the end of next month, she said that should not deter efforts to reopen schools, which is a priority of the Biden administration. The CDC released highly anticipated guidelines Friday for getting children back into classrooms, which included recommendations for phased reopenings based on rates of community transmission. Before taking office, President Biden set a goal of getting most schools reopen in his first 100 days in office.

"What we know from the scientific literature is that most disease transmission does not happen in the walls of the school. It comes in from the community," she said. "There's very limited transmission between students, between students and staff, really, mostly between staff to staff when there are breaches in mask wearing. So what we're really advocating for now is working to get our — especially in the high areas of transmission, the red zones you just talked about — getting our K-5 kids back in a hybrid mode with universal mask wearing and six feet of distancing."

Walensky stressed mitigation strategies, such as mask-wearing and social distancing, are crucial to protecting against the coronavirus strains.

"The B.1.1.7 variant may be less forgiving when we have breaches in these mitigation strategies, but the mitigation strategies are indeed the same," she said.

There have been more than 27.5 million coronavirus cases in the U.S., and the death toll stands at more than 484,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. Walensky previously predicted the nation would see more than 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 by mid-February.

She said Sunday there are still 100,000 cases per day and between 1,500 and 3,500 deaths daily, and warned against relaxing mitigation strategies. Both Montana and Iowa, for example, have lifted their mask mandates.

"We are nowhere out of the woods," Walensky said. "And as you know, if we relax these mitigation strategies with increasing transmissible variants out there, we could be in a much more difficult spot. So what I would say is now is the time to not let up our guard. Now is the time to double down, still with 100,000 cases a day, still with over two and a half times the cases we had over the summer."

Walensky said children need to be back in the classroom and communities back to "some normal functioning" before public health guidelines are eased.

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

Offline Sando prince

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #72 on: February 17, 2021, 09:28:54 PM »

First COVID-19 vaccine was administered in T&T today  :-\

https://www.facebook.com/CNC3Television/videos/3293821424056547


Offline Flex

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #73 on: March 17, 2021, 03:06:36 PM »
Clarity for Catholics: It's OK to get Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine – if it's the only one available
Elizabeth Weise
USA Today


Catholics might be somewhat confused by reports on differing messages about the acceptability of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine due to a cell line from an abortion being used in its production.

The differences have been resolved and Catholic teaching is clear: Catholics have a moral duty to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 by being vaccinated. However, if given the choice, they should avoid the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the Vatican and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Should they choose not to be vaccinated, they have a moral obligation to mask, socially distance and "do their utmost" to avoid becoming infected or infecting others, the Vatican said.

The message was somewhat garbled when the Diocese of Bismarck in North Dakota issued a statement March 2 saying the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was "morally compromised and therefore unacceptable" to be given or received by Catholics.

"The local bishop is taking a harder stance than either the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops or the Vatican," said Dr. G. Kevin Donovan, a Catholic bioethicist at the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University Medical Center.

A week ago, however, the Bismarck Diocese walked back its initial hard line.

"The Catholic Church’s concern about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is that it is morally compromised as a cell line from aborted fetal tissue was used in its development and production," said Father Robert Shea, diocesan ethicist for health care. "As the U.S. Bishops’ statement on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine indicates, it is possible to receive it in good conscience if given no other choice, but it should be avoided if there are alternatives (like Pfizer or Moderna) available."

A December statement from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made clear the overarching moral mandate is to be vaccinated or do the utmost possible to avoid passing along the virus.

When "ethically irreproachable" COVID-19 vaccines are not available, "it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process," the statement said.

Neither the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are entirely free from moral quandary as both used fetal cells from an abortion for early testing, though not in the actual production of the vaccine.

Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI both received their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Jan. 13.

Catholics' duty is to protect "the common good," the Vatican statement said. The vaccines "can be used in good conscience with the certain knowledge that the use of such vaccines does not constitute formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells used in production of the vaccines derive."

Father Tad Pacholczyk, director of education with the National Catholic Bioethics Center, notes Catholics have an obligation to voice their concerns, whichever vaccine they get.

"End users have a duty to push back and make known their disagreement with the continued use of these cells by researchers in the pharmaceutical industry and academia," he said.

That can include writing letters to the companies, posting on social media or writing letters to the editor, he said.

It's certainly permissible for an individual to refuse a vaccine they find morally problematic, Donovan said. But they are then obligated to do whatever they can to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to themselves or others.

That would include masking, social distancing and hand-washing.

"That's something that shouldn't be missed," said Donovan. "We have a moral obligation to not only take care of our own health but to protect others whenever possible and by whatever reasonable means are available."

His statement echoed the Vatican, which said people who refuse vaccines produced using cell lines from aborted fetuses have a responsibility to protect others.

They must “do their utmost to avoid, by other prophylactic means and appropriate behavior, becoming vehicles for the transmission of the infectious agent.”

The issue is over the PER.C6 cell line, which came from retinal cells from an 18-week old fetus legally aborted 36 years ago in the Netherlands.

In the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the cell line is used to help to create the vaccine but isn't actually in the vaccine, said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

"It's in the vat; it's not going into your arm," he said.

He added, "To wait for a vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna is a choice to take an unnecessary risk, one that could harm others."

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

Offline Flex

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #74 on: March 20, 2021, 09:32:40 AM »
VACCINE VACUUM
ELIZABETH GONZALES (T&T NEWSDAY).


THE Prime Minister is clueless as to when TT will receive its ordered batch of covid19 vaccines.

The country already made a US$1.477 million (TT$10 million) down payment to Covax and is supposed to receive 33,000 doses at the end of March, but Dr Rowley told the public on Thursday night that he cannot say exactly when they will arrive.

At a televised Conversation with the Prime Minister forum in St Joseph, Rowley said that as of Thursday night the government has no confirmation that any vaccines will arrive by March 22.

And from his recent interaction with World Health Organization (WHO), it appears the Covax facility would be unable to deliver the full order.

Rowley said, “It appears as though, in the Covax, it may not even be that (the 33,000 vaccines TT is expecting at the end of March). It will be less. And not being able to confirm a shipment now is making us believe that Covax has not been able to access.”

He still assured the country that the order is still on track to arrive sometime at the end of March. Rowley said Covax assigned TT’s supply to AstraZeneca Mika in Korea. That company has fallen short of the number of vaccines it hoped to produce and this is the reason for the delay.

“Their shortcoming is creating the delay in our area. But we have been talking to other people…We are part of a world problem and however you slice it, however you dice it, vaccines are not available for purchase. Small Caricom countries and some who are in desperation have had small favours.”

NO WORD ON CHINESE OFFER

In his capacity as head of Caricom, Rowley has since written to the UK, US and Canadian prime ministers highlighting the vaccine clog for countries in the region. “Canada has indicated they are giving close attention to what we said. That’s the only response I’ve had so far. I don’t know what that means.”

Previous reports said after the first batch is received, TT is expecting an additional 77,000 of 108,000 doses, sought through the Covax facility, between the end of April and early May.

Rowley hopes to have approximately 600,000 or 700,000 people vaccinated. So far, TT vaccinated 1,000 frontline workers, with the first dose using 2,000 Maitri vaccines gifted from Barbados from the Government of India.

On Tuesday, China’s President Xi Jinping promised to assist TT with its SinoPharm vaccine during a virtual meeting with Rowley at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s. Apart from confirmation of China’s offer, there has been no word from Rowley or his government on whether it will take up President Xi on his offer, especially as the vaccine vacuum in this country remains with no end in sight.

NOT GOING TO BE BEGGING

While the country has no choice but to wait for its Covax order, although other countries throughout the region are receiving covid19 vaccines as gifts, Rowley was adamant that TT will not go “begging” for such gifts, especially if the vaccines aren’t approved by the World Health Organization.

He touched on the issue of India’s vaccine Maitri given to other countries by the Government of India and not TT.

“A few of our Caribbean neighbours have got gifts. And of course, when you go to somebody asking for a gift, that’s not a gift, you’re begging. There was no arrangement for us here in TT to vaccinate this population by begging.”

Ironically, TT’s Caricom neighbour Barbados sent 2,000 doses out of a batch of vaccines it received as a gift from the Indian Government.

Two weeks ago, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar accused the government of not positioning TT to receive some of the 500,000 vaccines sent by India to countries in the region.

A spat between Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne and Persad-Bissessar followed after she wrote to India Prime Minister Narendra Modi on behalf of TT requesting a donation of AstraZeneca covid19 vaccines.

As of March 18, vaccine Maitri had been distributed to 71 countries. But there has been no word on whether or not India would be sending any vaccine gifts to TT after Persad-Bissessar’s letter.

“I have been accused of not moving to get TT’s share of some 500,000 vaccines from the Government of India. A lot of people in this country either, by ancestry or by political persuasion, have taken it upon themselves to be mouthpieces for the government of India. (They’re saying) 500,000 vaccines available and TT was not moving to get it, and accusing us of all manner of evil.”

He said the government communicated directly with India and there was no confirmation of 500,000 vaccines being available. He said this country was not invited to be part of any free vaccine distribution programme.

“The first I heard about any vaccines from India was from local doctors who were spoken to by the Indian High Commissioner who did not speak to the Government of TT.”

The second time he heard about the Maitri vaccines was through local businessmen hoping to bring vaccines into the country.

“We also communicated with the supplier from India who is supplying the world. They said they are not taking any orders. What is happening is that the vaccine suppliers have taken pre-orders from the wealthy countries that are buying up all that they can produce.”

UNC: GOVT HAS FAILED

The Opposition in a release on Friday accused Rowley of having TT’s vaccination programme in shambles. It went on to say India’s covid19 vaccines were never a secret and Rowley’s claim to not know about it, is untrue, when India’s PM discussed how its country could help the world via its vaccine programme during an address at the 75th meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in 2020 – an event Rowley attended.

In February, Barbados received 100,000 vaccines from India. Out of that, it donated 2,000 doses to TT, 1,500 to Guyana, 1,000 to St Lucia and 500 to Grenada. India also donated 70,000 vaccines to Dominica and 40,000 vaccines to Antigua and Barbuda which are yet to arrive.

Dominica shared 2,000 vaccines with St Lucia, 5,000 with Antigua and Barbuda, 5,000 to St Vincent and the Grenadines, 2,000 to St Kitts and Nevis, and 500 to Grenada.

In response to an editorial in Newsday on vaccine diplomacy, the Indian High Commission said it’s up to governments to either request or accept help from India’s government.

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

Offline Deeks

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #75 on: March 23, 2021, 11:43:26 AM »
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20210323/covid-window-hope#slideshow-0

This article is about Richard "Richie" Peters from Sando area. He played for Prez and South Colleges and Youth teams. He also played for the now defunct Sando Juniors and Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey. I played against him in all those teams. It appears that he has covid. I did not read the entire article because you have to sign up. He has been in JA 20 yrs now. Anyone of the Southies can get more info. By the way Richie was a damn good player. It was just that there were other damn good players around. He tried out for the 74 youth team

Offline Flex

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Re: Coronavirus Thread.
« Reply #76 on: June 27, 2021, 12:32:58 AM »
Border reopens, free to fly from July 17
...T&T open to vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens
By Renuka Singh (T&T Guardian).


The borders of T&T are set to reopen on July 17. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was the bearer of that good news on Saturday at the COVID-19 update at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's. Rowley said that the borders would be open to both vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens. The country would also allow entry to vaccinated non-nationals, but unvaccinated non-nationals are not going to be allowed in the country at this time.

The borders have been shut, except through authorised travel exemptions, for more than a year.

This news now spells relief to the thousands left stranded since the border closure last March. For over a year nationals have been utilising the exemption process to get home and either staying in state quarantine facilities or paying to stay at selected hotels for 14 days.

In that time, citizens have been clamouring to return home. Last year July, Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar famously compared the protracted lockout to slavery and indentureship, saying then that Rowley had made citizens nationless.

There have been successive updates about the number of locals stranded abroad since March but the Government relaxed the restrictions somewhat for the Christmas period last year and by December some 17,211 people made exemption requests to enter T&T. Of that figure, there were 9,557 exemptions granted, leaving more than 7,654 people, residents and non-residents, still outside, as T&T's borders remained closed at that time

"This is a major development at a time," Rowley said.

The Prime Minister said that after careful consideration, the Government has decided to open the borders. "The exact date in July, we expect Saturday, July 17," he said. The country would return to scheduled travel services.

Rowley said the Government's open borders would recognise three categories of people: vaccinated nationals of T&T, unvaccinated citizens of T&T, and other unvaccinated people.

"Vaccinated citizens of T&T with a negative PCR test, 72 hours or less, would be allowed to come in and go home," he said.

A person who is not vaccinated and wished to enter the country, must go into state-supervised quarantine for 14 days and must be able to show a negative PCR test.

Unvaccinated children coming in with vaccinated parents would be allowed to go home without any quarantine.

"Non-nationals of T&T who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 would not at this time be allowed to enter T&T," Rowley said. The vaccines must be approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and they are free to enter the country two weeks after their second shot.

Quarantine breakers, he said, would be fined.

"Any person coming into this country and decide to play fast and loose with our quarantine system and entry requirements would face the full brunt of the law," he said.

Just days ago the national carrier, Caribbean Airlines revealed plans to cut staff numbers including pilots but the Prime Minister said that the trimmed staff would be able to handle the workload now that borders are opening. He said that CAL maintained some 80 percent of its staff.

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.