- 23 MAR 2020
Media Conference on COVID-19 – Monday 23rd March 2020
COVID-19 testing has been expanded. The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) will expand its testing to test anyone who meets any of the criteria for COVID-19 exposure.
Testing will be expanded to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) where a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) machine will be validated by CARPHA to supplement testing efforts.
An additional PCR machine will be placed at the Trinidad Public Health Laboratory to assist in expanding testing by the end of the week.
Citizens are being urged to not send their samples to private labs who claim to be doing rapid COVID-19 tests. These private labs are not equipped with PCR machines and therefore the results will be inaccurate.
The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service ‘555′ Hotline will be dedicated to taking calls related to persons breaching the public health ordinance.
A Salary Relief Grant will be provided to citizens who have lost income as a result of the impact of COVID-19. They will have access to $1500 per month over a three-month period from the National Insurance Board.
Food Card support of $510.00 per month for three months for households where a family member was retrenched, terminated or income reduced during this period.
The Government will pay all persons who are owed income tax refunds of $20,000 or less next week.
VAT refunds to be paid to people owned up to $250,000 in March. Payment of VAT Bonds will begin next month.
The Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance and Home Mortgage Bank to begin payment deferrals for three months in the first instance.
Government will provide $100 million to the Credit Union movement to allow them to provide loans to their members at favourable interest rates with a long repayment period beginning after the situation normalises.
Government will provide $50 million as part of a grant facility for Tobago hoteliers to upgrade their premises. Government will also supplement the THA’s Enterprise Development Facility with up to an additional $5 million
All permanent residence and citizenship interviews will be suspended until further notice. All applicants will be contacted with new dates of appointments. Persons who were unable to leave Trinidad and Tobago by 22nd March, those whose landing certificates may have expired or those whose certificates will expire by 30th April, will be granted an extension of stay until June 22nd 2020.
Rental Assistance for up to $2500.00 per month for an initial period of three months for persons who have been retrenched, terminated or if the household income was reduced as a result of the impact of COVID-19.
COVID-19 Testing is available to all people currently in Trinidad and Tobago who may have symptoms of the virus.