The daily average of COVID-19 cases has decreased during the current period of restrictions and the Ministry of Health is hoping the trend continues to the end of the week. If it does, this could mean some respite for bars, restaurants and religious organisations come Saturday when Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announces the way forward as the current health restrictions expire.
Speaking during a virtual press conference yesterday, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram said the latest figures for last week indicate a daily case average of around 30, down from the previous week’s cases.
“Last week’s average of about 30 to 32 per day, the week before that we had, if you recall, we had somewhere around 52 cases to 53 cases. So there has been a reduction. We’re hoping to see that trend continuing to the rest of the week and we’d have a better idea on Saturday thereabouts what happens this particular week,” Parasram explained.
When the Prime Minister announced the current period of restrictions at a COVID-19 press conference on October 10, he indicated that some leniency to operate could be given to some sectors once there was no significant spike in cases over the period.
“If there is no significant upward tick in our concentration of levels now, by the 24th of this month- we should be able to make the changes that would bring back activities into the two areas I just mentioned- churches and other places of worship and we can do a bit more for bars and restaurants,” Rowley said then.
“Hopefully by the end of the month, certainly by the 24th, which is two Saturdays from now, when I will join you again and hopefully if what we have managed to accomplish in the last month which is to dull the spike and see a downturn in the numbers then we should be able to add a bit more in these...areas which I’ve mentioned.”
On Tuesday, several religious organisations told Guardian Media they believed the time was right for religious gatherings to resume to some extent. They acknowledged that services won’t be able to immediately resume under previous operating conditions but said they believe the guidelines put out by the ministry earlier this year would be sufficient to ensure the safety of patrons.
Contacted yesterday, Barkeepers and Owners Association of T&T (BOATT) president Teron Mohan said bars are ready to reopen and have already put mechanisms in place to enforce the public health guidelines.
“The bars - we are ready. Our affiliate restaurants too - we are ready. We are prepared to reopen. We are prepared to facilitate our customers again and we will be exercising the COVID guidelines and preventions to its fullest extent so as not to have to face a scenario for a third time coming around,” he said.
“So now we’re just keeping hopeful and keeping positive for Saturday’s address.”