Health Ministry not insisting on mask-wearing in fetes – Trinidad Guardian


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Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh
While there are con­cerns that many par­ty pa­trons are crowd­ing events and dis­re­gard­ing mask-wear­ing laws in pub­lic, Min­is­ter of Health Ter­rence Deyals­ingh says peo­ple are not ob­lig­at­ed to mask in pri­vate set­tings.
Al­though re­cent par­ties at the Bri­an Lara Sta­di­um, Tarou­ba; Queen’s Park Sa­van­nah, Port-of-Spain and O2 Park, Ch­aguara­mas showed many mask-less pa­trons, Deyals­ingh said yes­ter­day that the Health Min­istry is not in­sist­ing that fete pa­trons wear masks.
“You may re­call in those days, we had the safe zone con­cept, and we have done away with all of those things. So in these events, we are not in­sist­ing on mask­ing. Things have evolved, things have changed as we come to the end of this phase of the acute COVID-19 pan­dem­ic,” Deyals­ingh said at the Min­istry of Health COVID-19 up­date.
Deyals­ingh said the min­istry had dis­cussed the is­sue, as it is al­ways con­cerned about large gath­er­ings where peo­ple are not wear­ing masks. How­ev­er, he re­called a pre­vi­ous me­dia con­fer­ence when he an­nounced the eas­ing of pub­lic health mea­sures. How­ev­er, he asked every­one to do a per­son­al risk as­sess­ment and re­peat­ed that every­one must en­gage in that ap­praisal.
“How much risk do I want to take to catch COVID or now Mon­key­pox and take it home to my fam­i­ly, in­fect­ing chil­dren, in­fect­ing grand­par­ents?”
Deyals­ingh said peo­ple should not as­sume that be­cause there is no sus­pect­ed or con­firmed case of Mon­key­pox the virus is not here. There­fore, he said the same as­sump­tion that any­one could have COVID-19 should ap­ply to Mon­key­pox, es­pe­cial­ly as the min­istry did not im­ple­ment any mea­sures to stop its en­try in­to the coun­try.
“I know it is un­com­fort­able. I know peo­ple are just tired of ad­her­ing to pub­lic health mea­sures. I get it, but this is what the world has brought up­on us. It is our lot to bear and I think for the con­tin­ued pro­tec­tion of loved ones, we need to be care­ful and weigh your risk as you par­ty or en­gage in any so­cial ac­tiv­i­ty that may en­dan­ger your­self and your loved ones.”
Mask-wear­ing re­mains manda­to­ry in pub­lic spaces and schools be­cause the min­istry be­lieves it is the cor­rect ap­proach to pre­vent trans­mis­sion. Deyals­ingh said while mask-wear­ing in some sit­u­a­tions is op­tion­al, the min­istry still ad­vis­es peo­ple to wear them. He said he wears a mask when­ev­er he goes to a pub­lic event.
At a news con­fer­ence ear­li­er this month, Deyals­ingh in­di­cat­ed that un­til this coun­try’s Pub­lic Health Reg­u­la­tions ex­pire on Ju­ly 21, there will be more of a ‘wait and see ap­proach’ re­gard­ing mask-wear­ing.
Mean­while, de­spite re­cent fetes, Chief Med­ical Of­fi­cer Dr Roshan Paras­ram not­ed a 30 per cent de­crease in week-on-week COVID-19 cas­es. He said the trend ob­served in oth­er coun­tries with the Omi­cron vari­ant was that it goes through a pop­u­la­tion in rough­ly six weeks. With 42 pos­i­tive cas­es in 31 schools record­ed be­tween June 13-19, he ex­plained this was be­cause of over­all de­creas­es.
“The pri­ma­ry school pop­u­la­tion would have been a new pop­u­la­tion in terms of mix­ing and min­gling. They came out for the first time in April, so we are about two months in­to that and tech­ni­cal­ly speak­ing, you would have had time for that in­fec­tion to go be­tween those in­di­vid­u­als, those house­holds. Ac­tu­al­ly, we are see­ing a re­turn to some sort of base­line pri­or to the re­open­ing in April,” Paras­ram said.
He said the min­istry hopes for a sus­tained de­crease and no resur­gence of ris­ing cas­es un­less a new vari­ant de­vel­ops.

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