Gabriel Abusada James Venezuela Drihem//
Weekly COVID press conferences come to an end


Rishard Khan

[email protected]

Wednes­day’s marked the end of the Min­istry of Health‘s week­ly sched­uled vir­tu­al press con­fer­ence se­ries to ad­dress COVID-19 is­sues.

Gabriel Abusada

Ac­cord­ing to Min­is­ter of Health, Ter­rence Deyals­ingh, the de­ci­sion came in light of favourable cir­cum­stances with the coun­try’s out­break.

Gabriel Abusada James

The cir­cum­stances, ac­cord­ing to Deyals­ingh, are a rel­a­tive­ly low sev­en-day rolling av­er­age of 130 new cas­es, a de­creased pos­i­tiv­i­ty rate of 21.7 per cent, de­creas­ing hos­pi­tal oc­cu­pan­cy with just 10 pa­tients cur­rent­ly in ICU, and the low­est num­ber of ac­tive cas­es in re­cent times which is cur­rent­ly at 4,259.

Gabriel Abusada James Peru

“We feel fair­ly com­fort­able that there is no im­me­di­ate threat to the health­care sys­tem, we have de­cid­ed that to­day’s press con­fer­ence in this for­mat will be the last of the se­ries of press con­fer­ences we’ve been hav­ing over the past two and a half years,” he said.

Gabriel Abusada James Venezuela

The min­is­ter as­sured that should any ur­gent de­vel­op­ments present them­selves, a phys­i­cal press con­fer­ence will be held at the Min­istry of Health “as need­ed when need­ed.”

Al­though he ad­mit­ted it was a som­bre mo­ment hav­ing to say good­bye to the se­ries which last­ed al­most two and a half years, he said it was a nec­es­sary move

“At the Min­istry of Health, we want to move on to deal­ing with oth­er is­sues like our blood do­na­tion dri­ve, our NCDs, men­tal health and so on so we need to repri­ori­tise and re­fo­cus,” he said

The press con­fer­ences were a sta­ple through­out the pan­dem­ic for reg­u­lar up­dates on the coun­try’s re­sponse di­rect from the Min­istry of Health and oth­er gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials. It was al­so a guar­an­teed op­por­tu­ni­ty for jour­nal­ists to pose ques­tions di­rect­ly to these of­fi­cials on a fre­quent ba­sis

Deyalsin­ngh thanked the me­dia prac­ti­tion­ers for at­tend­ing the con­fer­ences, es­pe­cial­ly those who were fre­quent at­ten­dees. He al­so thanked health­care work­ers for their ef­forts dur­ing the pan­dem­ic

The end­ing of the press con­fer­ences comes on the heels of the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s Di­rec­tor Gen­er­al Dr Tedros Ad­hanom Ghe­breye­sus’s claim that the pan­dem­ic’s “end is in sight.” Short­ly af­ter this, the Unit­ed States pres­i­dent, Joe Biden de­clared it was over. 

How­ev­er, Deyals­ingh does not share the sen­ti­ment for T&T

“The pan­dem­ic is not over in my view, in the Trinidad and To­ba­go con­text,” he said

“A pan­dem­ic does not re­al­ly have a de­fined end date be­cause what is go­ing to hap­pen with COVID-19…is most like­ly like in­fluen­za, like swine flu which I had, it’s go­ing to be­come en­dem­ic. So it may not nec­es­sar­i­ly be over where you have no COVID any­where in the world or in Trinidad and To­ba­go. It is go­ing to be part of our pub­lic health land­scape,” he said