In the past few days Trinidad and Tobago has seen a number of new cases of Covid-19 after a long period of containment of the virus. At about the start of July, the government started lifting restrictions on a phased basis allowing life in Trinidad & Tobago to return to a semi normal state, even though our borders remain closed, with the exception of repatriation of Nationals through approval granted by the Ministry of National Security.
T&T saw restaurants and fast food outlets reopen, with strict guidelines regarding operating protocols. There was also the phased return to work by the public and private sectors. In terms of containment and management of the disease, the country was doing very well, until the past few days which started showing slow but steady increases in positive cases. A number of business places and institutions also were shut down amid reports of positive cases.
The main and most disturbing difference in these positive cases is the ‘sporadic spread”. The WHO describes ‘sporadic’ as the occurrence of a disease infrequently and irregularly in a specific jurisdiction or timeframe.
At least one of the recent cases is still under investigation as to it’s origin.
IzzSo spoke to a member of the Trinidad & Tobago Coast Guard under the condition of anonymity who described as worrying the situation on the western peninsula of Trinidad where ‘boaters’ are moving from mainland Trinidad to the ‘islands, and in some cases, sailing further afield as far as Grenada and bringing persons unchecked into the country, and posing additional risks to the population.
Police Commissioner Gary Griffith has on many occasions spoken about the challenges in terms of dealing with the illegal guns and ammunition coming into the country through ‘legal ports’. Commissioner Griffith also said that meetings are being held with the Ministry of National Security to put mechanisms in place for collaborations between the TTPS, Customs and the SSA, to ensure security loopholes are closed:
There are also challenges in managing the legal ports in terms of illegal migrants, particularly at the ‘Caricom’ jetty in Port of Spain, which has significant security loopholes.
With this said it’s important for the population to understand the dangers in engaging in irresponsible behaviours that can serve to put the population at risk for different types of transmission of Covid-19.
It’s important to understand the different types and modes of spread of the disease and the implications of each type of transmission.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), imported cases are considered cases that are acquired outside of the location that is reporting. In Trinidad and Tobago’s case, this means that COVID-19 would have been acquired outside of the country’s borders and was confirmed by testing within the country.
The key point in the definition of community spread or community transmission is that the source of infection is unknown.
Community spread or community transmission is defined by the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) as people being infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.
Local transmission or local spread, based on the WHO definition, occurs when the source of the virus is within our borders. This can occur when an imported case infects a primary contact or that primary contact infects a secondary contact.
Primary Contact: Primary contacts are the first set of people the patient comes into contact with, usually family members.
Secondary Contact: If a primary contact goes to school, work, church, or any other location outside of the home, and the virus is transmitted to someone at those locations, they are referred to as secondary contacts.
Tertiary Contact: People who interact with secondary contacts and contract the disease are known as tertiary contacts.