COVID-19 remains a public health emergency – Dr Anthony

Despite international reports, COVID-19 remains a public health emergency in Guyana, even as the situation is under control.

Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, Wednesday said that people must remain vigilant in the fight against the disease to protect themselves and their families.

Persons are encouraged to follow safety guidelines during the pandemic

Dr Anthony noted that it is up to the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) to make such declarations that the pandemic is over.

He maintained that Guyana takes guidance from the two agencies and not a specific country.

“We take a lot of our guidance both from CDC and WHO, the WHO they have a special committee responsible for all public health emergencies. That committee is scheduled to meet maybe in a month.

“When that committee meets it will evaluate where we are with the pandemic and then make a decision as to whether we continue in the mode that we are in, meaning that we have a public health emergency,” the minister explained.

He said until that status is changed, every country must be on alert.  

“I’m not sure that the report that the pandemic is over in the United States is entirely accurate, I do know that President Biden made a statement on 60 Minutes, saying that he thinks the pandemic is over because of how people are behaving, but in the United States, I think they still have lots of challenges because they are averaging, I think maybe about 400 deaths per day, globally have about 1600 deaths per day.”

Dr Anthony said people should pay attention to new strains of the virus like the BA2.75 which is more difficult to detect.

The current strains BA4 and BA5 cause milder symptoms for most people, with few having complications.

He reiterated the importance of getting boosted, which helps the immune system to be better prepared to fight the effects of the disease and prevent complications.

Currently, 444,683 persons in Guyana have taken at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 346,531 have taken a second dose.  

There remains a challenge in getting persons to return for their booster doses, the health minister related.