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(Trinidad Express) – “The pandemic is not slowing down, it is actually picking up speed.”

These are the words of Minister of Health Terrance Deyalsingh following the announcement of five new local cases of COVID-19 on Saturday morning.

Speaking at a virtual media conference on Saturday, Deyalsingh noted that the new upsurge in cases was a result of the further reopening of the economy.

“It should be a wakeup call to us in Trinidad and Tobago, the virus is still with us. As we said once we start to reopen the economy and people start to move and go back to work and start to go to social gatherings the virus will move as we said,” said Deyalsingh.

These five cases came after three new positive results were announced this week. They were classified by the Ministry as pending epidemiological investigation and identified by Chief Medical Officer Roshan Parasram as the first local cases in the country for over 80 days.

This unexpected development, Deyalsingh said, has halted plans of reopening the entertainment industry.

“One of the things we were looking at this weekend was starting to reopen the entertainment industry. We heard your cries and we were on the verge of doing that but events from Wednesday to today have put that on the back burner. We feel for those in the entertainment industry but the recent cases have necessitated a review of those plans,” he said.

According to Deyalsingh, the parallel healthcare system has so far been effective in dealing with the virus. The decision to use facilities such as the Caura and Couva Hospitals for clinical treatment, he said, has aided in the system’s ability to treat patients without overwhelming its capacity.

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