Seecheran questions why citizens now told Covid sub-variants in the country since December

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Seecheran questions why citizens now told Covid sub-variants in the country since December

Why was the public not told that the very highly transmissible COVID-19 XBB1.5 sub-variant was already in T&T?

That was the question asked by UNC MP Dr Rishad Seecharan, who slammed the government for not revealing the news since December, when people were gathering for the Christmas holidays.

Seecharan was speaking during a UNC press conference on Thursday, alongside Dr Tim Gopeesingh, after statements by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and the Covid19 response team on increased cases and new variants.

Seecharan said, “We were told the XBB1.5 variant is in our midst and we may soon have to face this in some form. Professor (Roslyn) Carrington said there were four confirmed cases of this variant thus far, the first on December 10, 2022.

“Why was the public not told of this earlier? We’re now being told after one month. This information could have been used before the Christmas holidays, as many people gathered with their families. Many people who’ve died from COVID in the last month could have been saved if we knew this highly transmissible variant was in our midst before Christmas.”

“Our borders are open to international travellers from the US, where this strain is the most dominant form of the virus on the Eastern seaboard. Without a doubt, we’ll soon be engulfed with this as we approach Carnival and it poses a significant threat to our vulnerable.

“I ask the Health team: how exactly will we manage these cases given that the ‘Mother of all Carnivals’ is upon us? Where are the therapeutics?”

Seecharan said the UNC fully supports Carnival and would resist any plan for partial/full “lockdown” or mask mandate if cases rise to dangerous levels again “because of the Health team’s incompetence.” Seecharan added that Carnival was a “money-making machine” and TT needed every economic boost.

“After 4,297 COVID deaths, Prime Minister Rowley now wants to tell us the incompetent Minister Deyalsingh and his team can manage this outbreak into Carnival and beyond. To do so, many steps would have had to have been completed already – procurement of vaccines, anti-virals and hiring additional personnel for wards. To the best of my knowledge, this hasn’t been done.”

Seecheran issued a call once again for reformulated boosters from Pfizer or Moderna, as he said the Sinopharm has a much-reduced efficacy against the XBB1.5, which has surged to more than 80 per cent of cases in Northeastern US and “…has the potential to spread quickly, as hundreds of Americans come here for Carnival.”