Daily Brief - Monday 23rd March, 2020


TTMA commends St Lucia crackdown on illicit cigarettes

The TT Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) has commended St Lucian authorities for taking swift action against illicit cigarettes. In a recent swoop down on products that do not conform to regulations, officials issued a public advisory to stop consumers from purchasing Zon (king size full flavour 20 class filter) cigarettes and vendors were asked to cease sale and distribution and to submit any stocks in their possession for disposal. The Bureau of Standards also stated that it would prosecute anyone found selling or distributing this product. The brand has also been seen on the market in TT. TTMA president, Franka Costelloe, said via a release on Friday that the action by the St Lucian authorities is a step in the right direction. "It is in the consumers’ interest to purchase regulated products deemed safe by the appropriate regulators. Consumers must stop supporting products entering any country illegally, jeopardising our safety and ultimately eroding local business that are compliant and committed to free and fair trade.” Read more here



Term Finance defers payments

Credit institution, Term Finance Holdings Ltd, a web-based credit institution operating in the Caribbean region, has joined in to provide relief for clients affect by covid19 economic constraints. CEO Oliver Sabga said the action taken by government, including restrictions to gatherings more than ten and ordering bars, restaurants, cinemas, schools and churches to close, is necessary but will certainly cause a slowdown in economic activity. Read more here

CAL's COVID ‘rescue missions’ praised

Passengers both outward and inward-bound welcomed special flights from Caribbean Airlines yesterday, saying these measures have brought much-needed relief to themselves and their families as countries around the world continue to shut their borders to prevent those infected with COVID-19 from entering their respective countries. Even more ecstatic were some 80 T&T nationals who returned from Guyana on flight BW3462 just before noon, as they beat yesterday’s midnight deadline in which the country’s borders by air and sea were closed to all passengers. The surprise announcement of the border closure on Saturday by National Security Minister Stuart Young had heightened the anxiety of nationals abroad who were trying desperately to get home. Guyana closed its borders last week for 14 days. Locals who returned from Guyana yesterday were screened by health officials and after being given the all-clear were ordered to spend 14 days in self-quarantine. Read more here



AG: Senators ‘front line warriors’ with covid19

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi has praised senators as “front line warriors” with the covid19 situation. He was piloting a motion to approve the Sexual Offences (Amendment to Schedule 1) Order in the Senate Tuesday. He pointed out that the senators were sitting in an unusual configuration (chairs were removed and spaced out), which was representative of social distancing. “Today we sit in a rather safe environment but today we sit together to engage in the passage of law for the peace, order and good governance of our society. And therefore I am very pleased and privileged to know that this Parliament and every senator present will turn up, as is required, for duty to assist our country on the front lines of this fight for the passage of laws for the benefit of TT.” Read more here

PM pledges incomes for jobless during COVID response

As the Trinidad and Tobago economy begins to feel the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic fallout, the Government is moving to announce initiatives to provide a source of income to those who lose jobs during this time. On Friday the Parliament passed the Public Health Ordinance Regulations which now legally forces bars, clubs, casinos, cinemas and members’ clubs from opening and restaurants and other food businesses from having dine-in services. Already, there have been reports of people losing jobs in these areas, with bars and clubs being the hardest hit, and other related industries. In fact, only on Thursday Media 21 Limited, which provides audiovisual technology services, sent all of its 21 staff members on no-pay leave. Read more here



COVID-19 and the local stock market

The effects of COVID-19, coupled with the sharp decline in energy prices are being felt across capital markets worldwide, with stock markets and bond yields plunging to all-time lows. Faced with quarantines and supply disruptions, many companies are feeling the brunt with widespread store closures. Read more here



COVID-19 |Guyanese urged to practise social distancing

Though social distancing is one of the primary measures in preventing the spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19), many Guyanese are failing to take heed to this advisory, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Karen Boyle, said on Sunday. Many religious halls of worship have remained opened as well as recreational facilities such as bars, though the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has advised against large gatherings. Social distancing entails persons keeping safe distances between themselves and others. It is a measure that many countries have been demanding so as to curtail the spread of the coronavirus, which has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Read more here

COVID ‘Nightmare’ - Jamaican Healthcare Worker In New York Rebounds From Coronavirus Infection

Michelle Ally, 48, is from Westmoreland, Jamaica, and her only job in the United States for the past 18 years has been working as a nursing assistant at a 60-bed caregiving home in the Mount Vernon-Westchester area of New York City. On March 7, she noticed that one of her patients at the facility, an 89-year-old Jamaican woman, had an unusually high fever and was coughing furiously. Ally raised an alarm to the supervisor, and at the end of her 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift, Ally returned home as usual. But the following morning, on Sunday, she noticed an unusual occurrence. “When I woke up to go to work, I was feeling chills. I had a fever, and my entire body, from head to toe, was gripped in pain,” she told The Gleaner by telephone yesterday. “I called out sick, and the pain and fever got progressively worse.” Read more here



Hong Kong appeared to have the coronavirus under control, then it let its guard down

Only a week ago, Hong Kong seemed like a model for how to contain the novel coronavirus, with a relatively small number of cases despite months of being on the front lines of the outbreak. That was in large part thanks to action taken early on, while cases were spreading across mainland China, to implement measures that are now familiar throughout the world: virus mapping, social distancing, intensive hand-washing, and wearing masks and other protective clothing. Hong Kong was proof that these measures worked, with the city of 7.5 million only reporting some 150 cases at the start of March, even as the number of infections spiked in other East Asian territories like South Korea and Japan, and spread rapidly across Europe and North America. Read more here

What is happening with the Olympics?

This year's Olympics Games have been thrown into doubt because of the coronavirus pandemic, with athletes and officials calling for a decision about Tokyo 2020 to be made quickly by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Read more here

23rd March 2020


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