COVID-19 safety advisories ‘falling on deaf ears’

−CMO warns situation could get worse because of non-compliance

DPI, Guyana, Monday, June 29, 2020

With the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Guyana now at 235 of which 109 are active cases, the Ministry of Public Health has reproved the attitude of Guyanese in light of this.

During the week June 21-26, 2020, a total of 47 new cases were confirmed with most of the cases emanating from Regions One and Seven.

It was noted that while COVID-19 deaths have remained at 12 since May 30, and many of the new cases are emanating from outside of the epicentre (Region Four) some residents have misguidedly taken this as a sign to return to normal life.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shamdeo Persaud on Monday sternly reprimanded the actions of citizens in certain sections of the population for disregarding COVID-19 measures and advisories which were implemented to prevent the spread of the virus.

Dr. Persaud noted that “Over the weekend, we observed large gatherings on the seawall in Region Four after 6:00pm despite repeated warnings to observe physical distancing, to wear a mask when out in public and to adhere to the curfew measures. It is quite obvious that all our messages are falling on deaf ears and that our young population is determined to do as they please.”

The CMO indicated that it has been continually brought to the attention of ministry officials that people are treating COVID-19 as a hoax or a political gimmick. Further, he noted that over 50 percent of all positive cases are asymptomatic which means there are possibly more positive cases than what is confirmed.

Dr. Persaud outlined the current situation in other countries in the Region of the Americas of which Guyana is a part; drawing specific attention to the death toll in neighbouring Brazil which as at June 28, was 57,070 and 1,313,667 confirmed cases.

“Is neighbouring Brazil’s death toll a figment of our imagination? Do we have to see our citizens dropping and dying on the road before we take COVID-19 seriously? Are we so callous that we think little of the service being done by all the frontline workers even at the risk of infecting themselves and their family?” he admonished.

Meanwhile, Suriname which had initially implemented a total lockdown in March resulting in just 10 cases, is now reporting more than 450 new cases within the last month. This comes the country relaxed the measures after more than a month had passed without any new infections being recorded.

The CMO reminded that no one is exempt from contracting COVID-19, and while initial research had indicated that the elderly are more at risk of contracting the infection, in Guyana the largest percentage of confirmed cases is attributed to the 20-29 age group.

“I wish to make a special appeal; COVID-19 is here in Guyana and will soon catch up with us if we continue with our lax behaviour,” Dr. Persaud emphasised.

The first phase of Guyana’s reopening comes to an end on July 2. During this period, the 6pm to 6am curfew is still in effect, large social gatherings are discouraged and social events and gatherings especially at public places are prohibited until further advised by the public health minister.

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COVID-19 Alert!

Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.