Covid may change Phagwah celebrations, but does not lessen its significance
– Minister McCoy
Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Public Affairs, Hon. Kwame McCoy says although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the traditional Phagwah celebration, the significance of observance must not be underplayed.
The Minister made this statement on Sunday, when he joined Timehri North residents at their Community Centre Ground for Phagwah celebrations.
He added that the Government is continuing to ramp up its efforts against Covid with a robust vaccination campaign.
“We are hoping by August of this year we can have at least 75 per cent or more of the population vaccinated, so that we can move in the direction of becoming COVID-free.”
At the Soesdyke Vishnu Mandir, Minister McCoy said people could still celebrate the occasion in keeping with the safety guidelines for religious observances.
“The significance of the event nevertheless is not played down and should not be played down because of the pandemic. All of us recognise Phagwah is a very significant Hindu event, and for its meaning we all observe and celebrated it.”
The Minister said it is important for the public to adhere to the COVID-19 precautionary measures and to take the vaccines, so that life can return to normal and celebrations observed as they were before the pandemic.
“The faster and the quicker we can get rid of this virus, it moves us back into that lovely celebration of Phagwah, where all of us participate in our respective spaces, in large crowds and being able to use the water and the powder, which are two important ingredients in terms of the celebration of Phagwah.”
Government is already making strides in vaccinating the population. Since the initial roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in February, targeting frontline healthcare workers initially, Guyana has received more vaccines and the campaign expanded to include parliamentarians, persons with comorbidities and persons ages 60 years and older.
This week the campaign would expand again to include persons aged 40 years and older.
President Ali on Friday revealed that the Government would be receiving 224,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines by Tuesday. Twenty-four thousand are being sourced through the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility and is expected on Monday, while the remaining 200,000 doses are the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia.