Daily Brief - Friday 6th March, 2020

TTMA IN THE NEWS

Govt, Chamber, TTMA to meet on covid19

Government, the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the TT Manufacturers Association (TTMA) are expected to meet later this week to determine how local businesses have been affected by the threat of coronavirus. This was disclosed on Tuesday by Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon. In a statement, Gopee-Scoon said countries and businesses have had to endure several global challenges over the last two decades and coronavirus is the latest one. “The major difference however is that it surrounds primarily the world’s largest economy, China, being the epicentre.” Gopee-Scoon said apart from the human adversity, China’s economy and consequently the global economy are affected. Read more here

Manufacturers brace for ‘corona’ lash

The  Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA) is bracing for the impact of the coronavirus on trade which is expected to be felt within the next four to six weeks when supplies of raw materials from China will either be halted or slowed. Read more here

 

NEWS

CMO talks to suppliers as COVID-19 cuts drugs from India

In­dia's re­stric­tion on the ex­port of cer­tain drugs due to sup­ply is­sues caused by the glob­al nov­el coro­n­avirus out­break could af­fect Trinidad and To­ba­go, es­pe­cial­ly the pub­lic health sec­tor. How­ev­er, Chief Med­ical Of­fi­cer (CMO) Dr Roshan Paras­ram says the Min­istry of Health had an­tic­i­pat­ed such an event and is set to meet with stake­hold­ers this morn­ing to dis­cuss pos­si­ble al­ter­na­tive sup­plies for the med­ica­tion. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port from the BBC, In­dia's re­stric­tion "comes as many drug in­gre­di­ent mak­ers in Chi­na re­main shut or cut out­put. In­dia's drug mak­ers re­ly on Chi­na for al­most 70% of the ac­tive in­gre­di­ents in their med­i­cines, and in­dus­try ex­perts have warned that they are like­ly to face short­ages if the epi­dem­ic con­tin­ues." In­dia is the world's biggest sup­pli­er of gener­ic drugs but the coun­try has re­strict­ed ex­ports of 26 in­gre­di­ents and the med­i­cines made from them in light of their own sup­ply short­ages. Drugs af­fect­ed in­clude Parac­eta­mol and var­i­ous an­tibi­otics. Read more here

Most covid19 patients won’t need hospitalisation

The World Health Organization (WHO) is still searching for a cure for covid19, which has exploded globally, and there is not much to offer by way of medicine to treat the virus. The most of those affected with covid can be given is supportive care. So said Dr Malachy Ojuro, medical chief of staff at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope. “If they are dehydrated, we give them drips. If they can’t breathe, we give them oxygen. If they get worse, we take over their breathing for them and put them in a (respiratory) machine. “This kind of support is given until the virus runs its course. That is the most we can do for them until they recover and their immune system kicks in and they get better.” Ojuro said the severity and length of time the illness lasts would depend on one’s immune system and how it responds. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Al-Rawi justifies wire-tapping bill

A new wire-tapping law will insert safeguards into three laws which now let the police access details of citizens phone records, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi told Thursday’s post-Cabinet briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s. The Interception of Communication (Amendment) Bill 2020 was passed by the Senate on Tuesday, with the Opposition voting against and one Independent senator abstaining, and it now heads to the Lower House. The bill says the police must apply for a court order before seeking to access stored data from a telecommunication service provider, and lets them wire tap unauthorised phone-calls by prison inmates. The AG said the bill allows wire-tapping of inmates who are not in an area designated for them to call their attorneys. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Businesses want new Customs payment plan scrapped

A blood sam­ple was shipped in­to this coun­try that need­ed to be tak­en to a lab­o­ra­to­ry ur­gent­ly for test­ing. How­ev­er, be­cause of the cur­rent de­lays be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced to clear shipped items, that sam­ple will most like­ly go bad. The time frame for the clear­ance of items is now six days on av­er­age. Pre­vi­ous­ly items were cleared the same day.This is an ex­am­ple of the "chaos" cur­rent­ly be­ing faced in this coun­try for per­sons try­ing to ship in items, An­drea Davis the coun­try man­ag­er for DHL said yes­ter­day. But the sit­u­a­tion is not on­ly af­fect­ing in­di­vid­u­als but al­so small and large busi­ness­es and even em­bassies. Read more here

Coronavirus forces GraceKennedy to restrict staff travel

Ja­maican-based com­pa­ny GraceKennedy (GK) has lim­it­ed trav­el by its staff in a re­sponse to the Coro­n­avirus out­break. In a re­cent in­vestor brief­ing, Don We­h­by the Group’s CEO said: “Ef­fec­tive yes­ter­day (March 3rd) we have put in a trav­el re­stric­tion on all GK staff.” He con­tin­ued: “GK staff can on­ly trav­el on es­sen­tial busi­ness and it will have to be ap­proved by me if they so de­sire to trav­el on es­sen­tial busi­ness.” We­h­by ex­plained that the com­pa­ny has done its checks, and has con­clud­ed that it has two months sup­ply of all its fin­ished prod­ucts and raw ma­te­ri­als. We­h­by not­ed that GK, which dis­trib­utes its prod­ucts in T&T through HAD­CO, has six fac­to­ries in Ja­maica. The Group CEO said: “So we have raw ma­te­ri­als and fin­ished prod­ucts from ar­eas that we would have bought which have been af­fect­ed by the coro­n­avirus.” Read more here

 

REGIONAL

By-Election Looms - Charles Sr Confirming Resignation Today; Morgan In Pole Position For Clarendon North Central

Jamaica is in the throes of facing another by-election in Clarendon, this time to replace Pearnel Charles Sr, who has handed in his letter of resignation as member of parliament, a well-placed Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) source has told The Gleaner. His resignation, which is expected to take effect after swearing in his son, Pearnel Charles Jr, will be confirmed today. Charles Sr, the four-term MP for Clarendon North Central, witnessed his son winning the Clarendon South East by-election over independent candidate Dereck Lambert. Charles Jr polled 6,846 votes to Lambert’s 741, the Electoral Office of Jamaica said yesterday of its final count. “He still knows how to play chess, and I am sure that he made the ultimate sacrifice for his son,” said a senior political source on Thursday. Read more here

CARICOM observer mission says poll was free, fair and transparent

The CARICOM election observation mission has concluded that Monday’s general and regional elections were free, fair and transparent. Chief of Mission of the CARICOM observer mission, Cynthia Combie Martyr, said the mission expects that the results of the polls will reflect the free expression of the will and aspirations of the Guyanese people for a government of their choice. “The mission applauds GECOM for a job reasonably well done as it relates to the conduct of poll and poll activities on polling day, including the count and issue and presentation of statements of poll on Election Day,” said Martyr during a press briefing at the CARICOM Secretariat, on Wednesday. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

'Protect the poor and vulnerable' - UN human rights chief

Government plans against the coronavirus must take "great care to protect the most vulnerable", the UN human rights boss has warned. Michelle Bachelet, the UN's high commissioner for human rights, said the measures to stop the spread of the virus would only work if they took into account "those on low incomes, isolated rural populations, people with underlying health conditions, people with disabilities and older people living alone or in institutions". She added that any action, including lockdowns and quarantines, should be "necessary and proportionate" and must comply with human rights laws. Read more here

Seattle stadium worker tests positive for coronavirus

A part-time employee at CenturyLink Field who worked at the February 22 game between the XFL’s Seattle Dragons and Dallas Renegades has tested positive for coronavirus, according health officials for King County in Washington. Officials said in a press release that no extra precautions were required for those attending the game or future events, but warned: Read more here

6th March 2020

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