Clint Chan Tack
HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said Government has not made any decision about asking TT nationals to pay for their own covid19 quarantine when they return home.
At the virtual health news conference on Wednesday, Deyalsingh said that was a measure the Jamaican government was considering.
On Tuesday, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness said it cost the Jamaican government J$1 billion to test, feed and house the approximately 2,300 Jamaicans who had been repatriated over the past five weeks.
Deyalsingh said, “I think it is something that may have to be considered as the numbers go up and up” He added, “It’s a very expensive process to accommodate this and, so far, the taxpayer has been carrying that burden.”
Deyalsingh said any decision for TT nationals to pay for their own quarantine, will involve National Security Minister Stuart Young and himself advising the Prime Minister. He said the cost to quarantine returning nationals is not inexpensive. Deyalsingh said the cost to set up the National Racquet Centre in Tacarigua as a covid19 stepdown facility cost $1 million.
He added this did not include costs such as catering and staff. Deyalsingh said UWI would have spent “a couple hundred thousand dollars” to do perimeter work at its campus in Debe for it to be used as a covid19 decanting facility.
He said the Brooklyn Centre in Sangre Grande was rented at $120 per month for three months and “has been waiting for another group of people for close to a week and a half.” Deyalsingh said a facility in Balandra was rented at $85,000 per month to house a group of TT nationals who returned from a cruise ship in Guadeloupe.
Deyalsingh was later asked if Tobagonians among groups being allowed to return to TT from cruise ships would be allowed to serve their quarantines in Tobago instead of with the others in Trinidad. In response he said, because most cruise ships docked in Port of Spain, all nationals returning from cruise ships will likely be quarantined in Trinidad according to existing policy.
“We did not break the policy for the 68 people coming from Guadeloupe. We did not break it for the 33 people coming from Barbados. We are not going to break it for the people coming from Caracas.”
He explained these people will be quarantined “until 14 day quarantine period is over or until they get two negative test 24 hours apart.”
Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram said, “Cruise ships normally pose a medium to high risk in terms of having an infectious disease.” He continued, ” If you are speaking about quarantine coming off a cruise ship, what we try to do, is once you get off that ship, you are taken to the closest point of call.”
Should this be in Trinidad for the majority of people, Parasram said, “We wouldn’t want to transfer that individual by air or by another sea vessel to go to Tobago to quarantine.” Outside of cruise ships, Parasram said, “You would have noted that Tobago actually set up quarantine stations within hotels in Tobago during the epidemic itself.”
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