HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said TT students returning to this country from Hong Kong have not shown any symptoms of the coronavirus.
He was responding to a question in Senate Wednesday from Independent Senator Hazel Thompson-Ahye who asked whether the ministry was considering imposing a quarantine on TT students who have been returning from Hong Kong given reports of 21 confirmed cases including three transmitted within the city.
Deyalsingh said the number of cases in Hong Kong according to the World Health Organisation was actually 15. On students returning from Hong Kong he read from his statement in Parliament on January 31 this year: “In the event that a person presents at a port of entry in TT they may be subject to quarantine measures.”
He added: “So the answer is yes. Anybody coming into TT, whether it is a Trinidad student, anybody, after we announce the travel restriction will be subject to quarantine.”
Deyalsingh said the information he received from the Immigration Division was that two students came in two weeks ago and one last week before the implementation of measures, a 14-day travel restriction of people coming from China where the outbreak originated.
“My information is, so far, none of these students are symptomatic. But anybody coming into TT after the measure will be subject to quarantine and/or isolation.”
Thompson-Ahye asked if the ministry would implement the measures for a student who came in (from China) on Friday.
He replied: “Yes. And measures have already been taken.”
He reported the national is in self-isolation and has been so since Friday. He explained the protocol being followed around the world, including in the UK, Canada and the US, was that people who are low risk are put in self-isolation instead of institutional isolation.
“We are following international best practice.”
Thompson-Ahye asked the minister to clarify self-isolation adding that the student had a parent who was working and interacting with people on the outside. Deyalsingh reiterated that self-isolation was for people who posed little to no risk of being able to transmit the disease and that was assessed through looking at the travel history, symptoms and home situation.
“In this particular case that student only lives with one person and so the risk amongst many family members is close to zero.”
He added self-isolation meant they keep distance of three feet from people and close contact is restricted to 15 minutes.
“So those conditions are being applied in this situation.”
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