Ministry of Health Clarifies COVID-19 Quarantine Policy
Port-of-Spain, June 4, 2020: The Ministry of Health notes the misinterpretation of statements made pertaining to the provision of quarantine services to returning nationals.
It is and will continue to be the policy of the Government to provide free quarantine services via the parallel health care system, as it has already done for two hundred and sixty-one (261) nationals. The inflow of these nationals is a carefully managed process based on the number of nationals seeking re-entry, as provided by the Ministry of National Security, and the number of available quarantine beds.
For further clarity, the following list outlines the number of beds provided via the parallel health care system.
1. Hospital beds for clinical management and treatment of COVID-19 positive patients only = 542.
These beds are not used for quarantine purposes.
2. Beds available for quarantine and isolation = 406
3. Total number of beds available via the parallel health care system = 948.
For infectious diseases, the Ministry of Health has made the strategic decision that, unless absolutely necessary, only 75% of the total bed capacity will be used at any one time. This will allow for the required physical distancing. Thus, for quarantine facilities this amounts to three hundred and four (304) beds.
It must be further noted that, in order to avoid any possible viral contamination, any facility that houses COVID-19 positive patients can only be reused for a subsequent batch of patients after the appropriate sanitization of the facility is conducted and the required predetermined period is allowed to pass. This period is usually a minimum of 2 weeks.
There is being explored the possibility of permitting a very limited number of persons to return and cover for themselves, the costs of being quarantined under state supervision.
The category that it is envisaged that may be accommodated under this rubric, are workers whose jobs outside of Trinidad and Tobago were performed, and completed, and their employers are willing to pay for their return and the costs of accommodation. The number of those that may be facilitated in this category would still be limited by the number of suitable available accommodations. Also, all returning nationals are to abide by the national quarantine policy as directed by the Chief Medical Officer.