Daily Brief - Tuesday 10th March, 2020

NEWS

Increase in covid19 cases in region

CORONAVIRUS (covid19) cases in Latin and South America have increased, according to the CARPHA situation report. The report indicates that the total number of cases in Ecuador have risen to 13, while Brazil’s cases increased to seven. Other Latin American countries, like Argentina and Chile, which both had one case each, remained unchanged. French territories in the region also remain unchanged, with five cases in French Guiana, two in Martinique, two in St Martin and two in St Bart’s. Read more here

Form Five student charged with shooting cashier

A Form Five stu­dent has been de­nied bail af­ter ap­pear­ing in court charged with shoot­ing at Navi­ta Prem­c­hand with in­tent to kill her. Miguel Thomp­son, 18, ap­peared in the Siparia First Mag­is­trates Court yes­ter­day charged with five of­fences stem­ming from the in­ci­dent. Prem­c­hand, 32, is still ward­ed in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion at hos­pi­tal. Pros­e­cu­tor Sgt Starr Ja­cob told Se­nior Mag­is­trate Mar­garet Alert that doc­tors have ad­vised her fam­i­ly to have “cau­tious hope” for her sur­vival. Prem­c­hand, 32, a cashier, was at her work­place Unique Books and Sports Cen­tre two Fri­days ago when two men en­tered and shot her. Read more here

All 35 samples in T&T free of coronavirus

There is no confirmed case of the coronavirus, COVID-19, in Trinidad and Tobago at this time. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Covid19 testing only at Carpha

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said the only testing for covid19 should be done at the Caribbean Public Health Authority (CARPHA), amid reports of private labs offering the test at a handsome price. On Sunday on Radio 95.5 FM, Deyalsingh lamented that some private labs have been asking private doctors to send their patient swabs to them for testing even as the samples according to the minister would then have to be sent on to Carpha for verification. Urging doctors to send the swabs straight to Carpha, Deyalsingh said, “Cut out the middle man.” Former health minister Dr Fuad Khan, a medical specialist, supported Deyalsingh’s stance, largely because in the event of a positive case only Carpha can trace the contracts the patient would have had. Khan said if any private lab was testing for covid19, he hoped the tests were done using test kits of international repute. Read more here

Energy Minister: We could be hurt severely

En­er­gy Min­is­ter Franklin Khan has ad­mit­ted that if the on­go­ing price-war be­tween Sau­di Ara­bia and Rus­sia con­tin­ues for a pro­longed pe­ri­od this coun­try could be sig­nif­i­cant­ly hurt. In a brief in­ter­view yes­ter­day Khan told Guardian Me­dia: “The Sau­di’s have their own agen­da, Rus­sia has a more geopo­lit­i­cal agen­da be­cause they are claim­ing that they want to squeeze the US out of the Shale mar­ket. But in any event both Sau­di and Rus­sia, for what­ev­er rea­sons, they can sur­vive on de­pressed prices for a pe­ri­od, as for how­ev­er long that pe­ri­od is I don’t know, but coun­tries like Trinidad who are price tak­ers—I mean we would be hurt se­vere­ly.” Fear and a price-war be­tween two of the world’s largest oil pro­duc­ers have caused a pre­cip­i­tous col­lapse of crude prices and re­sult­ed in a team led by Fi­nance Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert, Khan and Min­is­ter in the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter Stu­art Young work­ing on plans to ame­lio­rate the fall­out should the coun­try have to en­dure a sus­tained pe­ri­od of de­pressed prices. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Chamber, PAHO to jointly host COVID-19 information session

The T&T Cham­ber is in the process of plan­ning an in­for­ma­tion ses­sion for its mem­bers in con­junc­tion with the Pan Amer­i­can Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (PA­HO) fol­low­ing the nov­el coro­n­avirus out­break. It is al­so con­duct­ing a sur­vey with its mem­bers, both man­u­fac­tur­ers to im­porters to get pos­si­ble feed­back on any sup­ply chain chal­lenges and to iden­ti­fy so­lu­tions to mit­i­gate stock outs, said the Cham­ber’s CEO Gabriel Faria. “We have al­so en­gaged the Min­istry of Health to at­tend so we can en­sure we pro­vide fact based guid­ance and dis­pel all the ru­mours around pre­ven­ta­tive ac­tions and deal­ing with it. “Based on our var­i­ous dis­cus­sions with the Min­istry of Health and PA­HO we are com­fort­ed in know­ing that once we are pre­pared we have the abil­i­ty to mit­i­gate the wide­spread im­pact COVID-19 has had in some oth­er coun­tries,” Faria added. Read more here

The end is near for sugar factories

The process of demolishing the historic Usine Ste Madeleine and Brechin Castle sugar mills has begun. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Phillips: I Can Beat Holness

President of the People’s National Party (PNP), Dr Peter Phillips, has pushed back against critics who assert that he does not have the mettle to lead his party to victory in the upcoming general election. Phillips dismissed the claim that he could not wrest Jamaica House from the Holness administration. “Suffice it to say, we are not going to change leadership now. We are going to fight the election and I have every confidence that we will win the election,” Phillips said yesterday during an interview with The Gleaner. Prime minister and leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Andrew Holness, has given hints that he might send Jamaicans to the polls before the general election that is constitutionally due early next year. The party’s chairman, Robert Montague, declared on Sunday that the JLP was ready to contest the election. Read more here

Law and Order Must Prevail

President David Granger, in a statement on Monday, has urged Guyanese to remain calm and to desist from engaging in activities likely to raise tensions as they await the decision of the Chief Justice on how the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) should treat with its final declaration on the 2020 General and Regional Elections. In the statement, the President acknowledged that the Opposition has been spreading a narrative that is “no more than a falsification of reality” which has contributed to disorder and violence in society. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

“We don’t know” how many coronavirus tests have been done, says US health secretary

US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says his department isn’t sure how many tests for the novel coronavirus have been performed in the United States. Speaking to CNN’s John Berman on New Day Tuesday, Azar said: “We don't know exactly how many because of hundreds of thousands of our tests have gone out to private labs and hospitals that currently do not report in to CDC. "We're working with the CDC and those partners to get an IT reporting system up and running hopefully this week where we would be able to get that data to keep track of how many we're testing,” he added. Read more here

Coronavirus: President Xi visits Wuhan to signal control of outbreak

President Xi Jinping has visited Wuhan, the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, sending a message that Beijing has the situation under control. His visit comes as China records its lowest number of infections, just 19 on Tuesday, all in Wuhan apart from two who had arrived from overseas. There have been 80,754 confirmed cases in mainland China and 3,136 people have died. The visit was Mr Xi's first trip to Wuhan since the outbreak began. According to state media, Mr Xi arrived in the city on Tuesday to inspect epidemic prevention and control work in the province. Wuhan and its province, Hubei, have been on lockdown in order to prevent the spread of the disease. The president visited a community in the city currently in self-quarantine. Global Times quoted analysts as saying Mr Xi's visit sent a "strong signal to the entire country and the world that China is ascending out of the darkest moment amid the outbreak". Read more here

10th March 2020

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