At present, the daily number of positive cases and deaths in this country has become an alarming and frightening situation amongst the responsible people of Trinidad and Tobago.
However, while the Government and the Opposition continue to play the blame game, almost 400 citizens have lost their battle with the COVID-19 virus during the month of May alone. Some say it was the Easter weekend in Tobago, whilst others are blaming the Andrea Bharatt candlelight vigil. As this tit-for-tat continues in the Parliament, press and on social media, the police continue to detain Venezuelans crossing our borders illegally and locking up people for holding COVID parties during a State of Emergency.
None of these explanations substantiates the spread of the virus or the rapid increase in its numbers. No one really knows when this pandemic will end. My advice to all is to follow the advice of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health to wear your masks, wash and sanitize your hands, and practice social distancing. I would also add eating healthy food and taking vitamins and supplements to boost your immune system.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has brought with it three challenges:
1. Trying to curb the spread of the virus and saving lives by locking down the country, wearing of masks, washing hands, and social distancing.
2. A slowing down of the economy that has resulted in reduced revenues, loss of jobs and lower production and availability of goods.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
3. Children are no longer attending schools or socialising, mixing, and playing with each other. They are now studying online at home. Citizens can no longer attend funerals, weddings, and birthday parties. Gatherings are limited to not more than five, barely a family in most cases. Humanism has been taken away from human lives. This, my fellow citizens, is a very serious situation that can have a long-lasting effect on not only our children’s minds and lives, but on all of us as human beings.
Despite the foregoing, it is clear that the real long-term solution to overcoming the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on our country is the vaccination of our population. This seems to be the only way to reduce the number of cases so that the people of T&T will have the confidence and the ability to re-establish contact with each other and with the wider world.
I personally awaited the Sinopharm vaccine from China since my research indicates that it is one of the better vaccines. China began its use in October 2020, ahead of the phase three trial results, giving the vaccine to nearly a million people in China, including their soldiers, under an emergency programme.
As a matter of fact, this vaccine was created using well-known established technology and can be stored under much milder temperatures. After a donation of 600,000 vaccines for the Chinese citizens in Sri Lanka, there were no complaints from those receiving the jab. I trust and hope that it will have a similar reception and effect here.
In order to put a quick end to this pandemic, it is important and essential that the Government and private sector work together to expand and accelerate the vaccination programme to extend it to every citizen and resident of this land. The Government and the public health system cannot do it on their own. It must be a national effort! I am certain that there are numerous private medical facilities, doctors’ offices and pharmacies that would be willing to partner with the Ministry of Health and the public health facilities in these extraordinary times to offer and administer the vaccines free of charge to the people of T&T.
It is hoped that the acceleration of the vaccination programme would allow the Prime Minister and his medical team to revise their policy on the closure of the border to allow people who are vaccinated to travel to and from T&T without the need to quarantine for a prolonged period of time. This would allow many of our citizens and vaccinated visitors to travel back and forth to undertake the vital business negotiations and to establish the important commercial relationships that will be needed to catalyse the reopening and re-energising of the economy in a safe way.
Permit me, my fellow citizens of T&T, to call on all of us to come together to procure, acquire and distribute the vaccines that will be needed to stop the rapid growth of positive COVID-19 cases here. Our country is in a difficult state. This pandemic has reached our families, friends, neighbours, and co-workers. It has impacted both the poor and the rich. Every life is important and one life lost is too many. Let us pull together our resources to save lives, re-energise the economy and allow our people to return to a sense of normalcy. We can do this if we all come together. The only solution is “Vaccine, Vaccine, Vaccine!”
God bless our nation.
CEO, ADM Import and Export Distributors Ltd