Government COVID-19 Advisories
─Ministries, agencies implementing preventative measures
DPI, Guyana, Saturday, March 28, 2020
As the Ministry of Public Health steps up its efforts to limit the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Guyana, several Ministries and government agencies have implemented preventatives measures to assist in the management of the virus.
Ministry of Education
- All schools closed from March 16 – April 20, 2020
- Private lessons urged to close to ensure social distancing
- Schools, MOE buildings will be sanitized
- NGSA has been postponed, new dates to be provided
- Parents advised to work with children in preparation of NGSA through MOE’s website, Guyana Learning Channel, radio broadcasts of the Interactive Radio Instruction for Grades 1-3 and NCN Radio
University of Guyana
- Campuses closed until March 30, 2020.
- Only essential staff in Registry, Bursary, Maintenance, Security and Personnel Divisions will be deployed.
Ministry of Public Health
- Reduce risk of infection by frequently washing hands, exercising safe coughing technique, avoiding close contact with anyone that has a fever or cough
- Regularly disinfect workspaces on the job
- Workplaces should advise employees to stay at home if they are showing signs of COVID-19
- Maintain social distance of at least 3 feet from people, especially those showing signs such as coughing, sneezing and high body temperature (fever).
- Medical masks are not required for general public, but for those persons that cough or sneeze and individuals taking care of someone suspected to have COVID-19.
- Three categories of suspected cases are patients with acute respiratory illnesses, travel history to country reporting local transmission, persons that have been in contact with persons confirmed to have COVID-19
- COVID-19 can be transmitted to countries, irrespective of weather and climatic conditions
- Health Emergency Operational Centre (HEOC) met to coordinate response to COVID-19
- Only the National Public Health Reference Laboratory has the capacity and is authorized to conduct tests for COVID-19
- Do not visit hospitals nor health centres if you are suspected to have COVID-19. Contact MOPH hotline 227-4986, 226-7480, 229-7490, 231-1166, 624-3069, 624,9355, 624-6674, 624-2819.
- Four quarantine sites implemented in Guyana
- No more self-quarantine. All suspected, probable, and confirmed cases of COVDI-19, will be quarantined in at a Ministry of Public Health facility.
- An ‘app’ will be established to monitor and evaluate information about the COVID-19.
- Guyanese urged to only rely on credible sites. The World Health Organisation’s website www.who.int/, the Ministry of Health’s website health.gov.gy.com, and the Pan American Health Organisation’s website, www.paho.org.
Ministry of Public Infrastructure
- Operations of international flights at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport and the Eugene F. Correia International Airport suspended for two weeks, beginning from Midnight Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
- Ferry service between Guyana and Suriname suspended from March 14, 2020 until further notice.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Closed borders- travel suspended to countries with which Guyana shares its borders.
- Suspended ferry service with effect from March 14
- All seaports closed to international vessels from March 21
Department of Public Service
- Public servants placed on shift system from March 16-27, 2020
- Managerial staff/Heads of Units to work daily
- Every Ministry/Department/Region urged to sanitize work environment intermittently during working hours
- Public servants absent due to mandatory 14-days self-quarantine are to be cleared by medical practitioner prior to resuming duties.
From 30 March to 30 April 2020
- Heads of Agencies, in consultation with their senior staff, must determine the most appropriate work arrangements in the context of each agency’s mandate and the need to ensure an urgent response to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
- Heads of Agencies should identify all staff that are considered to be critical or non-critical. Critical employees, in the context of COVID-19 situation, are defined as anyone whose job function is necessary for the effective daily operation of their agency or authority and who must be physically present in the office to execute their duties.
- Heads of Agencies, in consultation with their senior staff within their agencies, should determine rotational or other arrangements for all critical and non-critical personnel, and the capacity of the agency to enforce and monitor such arrangements. Where rotation is being considered it must not exceed one-week, and officers are expected to be ‘on call’ and be prepared to work on short notice, should the need arise.
- Staff with flu-like symptoms should be reminded to call the emergency hotline and N.Q.I go to the hospitals. Please note that Public Service Rule H45 which requires the officer to produce a medical certificate after being sick for three (3) consecutive days is still in effect. Further, Public Servants who are absent due to a mandatory COVID-19 quarantine for 14 days must be cleared by a Medical Practitioner prior to resuming duty.
- To contain the spread of COVID-19, every Ministry/Department/Region has a responsibility to sanitize the work environment intermittently during working hours so as to protect all stakeholders. If you think you are displaying symptoms, call the COVID-19 Hotline at 231-1166, 226-7480, 624-6674, 624-2819 or 624-3067. Also, Digicel has enabled toll-free numbers for their customers, who may call 180 or 181. GTT has also enabled toll-free numbers for their customers, who may call 0180 or 0181.
- Heads of Agencies should ensure that offices are afforded adequate sanitization items such as hand sanitizers, soap, approved masks, disinfectant spray, disinfecting wipes among others to support appropriate utilisation to maximise protection
- All public servants must always practice social distancing (which includes no hugging, handshakes or touching) in the work environment, public spaces, including while utilising public transportation (buses, cars, boats, etc), so as not to expose themselves, colleagues and families to COVID-19.
Department of Citizenship
- Persons accessing services will be engaged in smaller groups
- Members of public visiting the department are to wear masks ONLY if caring for a person suspected to have COVID-19
Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC)
- All field inspections and surveys suspended until further notice
- Staff who have travelled overseas of have been exposed to other who have travelled will undergo mandatory quarantine as per WHO recommendations
- Resource desk for clients accessing information of preventative measure established
- GL&SC has increased cleaning and sanitizing of their offices countrywide and made available hand sanitizers for each staff member and at the entrance of their buildings and all cash registers
- Established public sinks equipped with soap and disposable towels at the Commission’s head office.
- Mandatory sanitization of hands by staff and visitors required.
- Staff rotation commenced
- Recommend clients utilise remote services through the GL&SC hotline, website, email and Facebook page and conduct only essential business at their offices.
Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA)
- Restricting the number of customers who will be allowed into the GRA offices to avoid crowding.
- Discontinuing the acceptance of returns at the counter and printing of lodgement receipts when taxpayers submit their returns. This is applicable to all returns including Income Tax, Corporation Tax, Property Tax, PAYE and VAT.
- Reducing processing of Driver’s Licenses, Motor Vehicle Licences and Motor Vehicle Registrations. A notice advising of same has been published in all the daily newspapers.
- Cancelling all Taxpayer Education workshops and presentations.
- Cashier Sections for all officers (Heaquarters & IRTOs) will be closed during midday periods from March 17-27, 2020
(Tax Relief offered to Businesses and Individuals)
Waiver of VAT, Duties and Excise Tax on all medical supplies associated with the testing, prevention and treatment of COVID – 19, Vitamin C and multivitamins. Will take effect from March 26, to June 30, 2020. The descriptions of these supplies with their associated tariff codes are given in the table below.
- Tax deductions will be given for all donations made by local businesses to staff and health institutions for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
- Deferment of the payment of corporate and individual advance taxes and PAYE for businesses affected until June 30, 2020.
- Thereafter, businesses will be allowed to pay advance taxes on the current year basis.
- All other taxes are due and payable in accordance with the law. This includes Balance of tax payments for Corporation Tax and Income Tax due for Year of Income 2019 which is payable by April 30th, 2020. Interest and penalties though applicable for late filing and payment may be waived by the Commissioner General for due cause.
- Taxpayers are encouraged to submit their tax returns electronically. Drop boxes are also available at all GRA locations for taxpayers to drop off their returns should they elect not to file electronically. Please note that the issuance of lodgment receipts is suspended. Instead, an online Lodgement Checker will be available on our website www.gra.gov.gy, thereby allowing taxpayers to check that their returns have been brought to account.
National Insurance Scheme (NIS)
- Access to NIS compound limited to persons enchasing vouchers or paying contributions
- Contribution records can be accessed online via the website nis.org.gy
- Records queries can be done via the NIS live chat platform or email address: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone numbers 226-8059 or 225-2798
- Requests for changes or corrections to names along with supporting documents can be placed in drop boxes located at strategic points at the entrances of NIS offices.
- Cashier working hours have been amended to 8:00 hours to 13:00 on Monday to Friday.
Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA)
- Installation f handwashing station at entrance of Head office for staff and members of the public to wash their hands before entering building
- Sanitizers place in all offices
- Staff working on rotational basis
- Reduced number of clients will be allowed in any department
- Suspension of field exercise by Enforcement and Planning Department
- Frontline staff equipped with protective gear
- Members of the public exhibiting signs of a fever of cold asked to seek medical attention before visiting the agency
Guyana Police Service
- Immigration officers at ports of entry will observe all precautionary measures
- Increased police presence to deter person from using the back-track route in Region 6
Guyana Prison Service
- From March 18, 2020, only 1 visit per week allowed for remanded and appellant prisoners.
- Convicted prisoners will continue to have 1 visit per month of 10 minutes duration.
- Between Monday to Friday from 8am-12 noon, persons desirous of lodging monies for prisoners’ Tuck Shop can do so at locations identified outside prisons
- Items for Mazaruni Prison can be delivered at the Prison Headquarters on Brickdam as per normal.
Maritime Administration Department (MARAD)
- From march 21, 2020all seaports in Guyana are closed to international vessels except for international merchant ships
- No shore-leave and crew exchanges will be granted to crew on board vessels.
- Entrance to ports will be granted in accordance with established procedures.
- Stakeholders, operators/owners of vessels, seafarers, shipping agents and the general public required to submit all enquires and or queries via email or contact telephone numbers 225-7330 Or 2263356.
- Correspondences/documents related to certificates/licenses/seafarers should be submitted electronically to the Maritime Safety Division via email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or contact telephone numbers 225-7330 or 226-3356 ext. 204, 211, 212.
- All correspondences/applications related to In-water permits, marine construction, dredging, inspection etc. should be submitted electronically to Ports and Harbours Division via email email@example.com or contact telephone numbers 226-7842 or 227-1696
- From March 21, 2020 all agencies with existing credit arrangements with the administration are asked to submit their credit requests for vessels’ clearances electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for approval. The clearances will be issued electronically. Note: The division will keep a record of ALL outstanding payments and shall issue invoices in due course.
- Agencies which do not have credit arrangement with the administration, can have the necessary documents for processing of departure clearance submitted electronically via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com or by WhatsApp (621-3477). Once processed, an advisory on when payments can be made will be sent via email.
- All payments for Permits to operate in the EEZ and Crude Lifting Activities are to be made via wire transfer or direct deposit. Once the requisite approval has been granted for these activities, a response via email will be sent with the relevant instructions regarding same.
Supreme Court of Judicature
- Fumigation and sanitization of court began March 13, 2020
- Fumigation of other courts to be done on weekends and periodically as necessary
- Court users are to sanitize their hands upon entering the courts
- Sanitizers will be placed at entrances and at strategic locations at all courts
- Judges, Magistrates as well as supervisors of court registries and officers are to provide guidance on attendance of litigants and progress of trials and hearings.
- Those accompanying litigants to cases are advised to stay away from the courts
- Further remand of prisoners to be conducted via Skype
- Fact sheets on COVID-19 to be issued to staff and are to be placed at strategic locations around courts
- Response Team established to deal with the preparedness, response and interaction with public health agencies
- Review and assessment of situation will be done and updates provided to court users and public
- Encourage strict adherence to court protocols in light of COVID-19
Regional Democratic Council (Region 9)
- All villages along the border will identify 1 person to monitor.
- All mass gatherings will be halted
- No permissions for dances and other gatherings will be processed by the Police
- Rupununi Ranchers Rodeo has been cancelled
- Only critical staff to report for work at the RDC.
- Hotline established at Lethem Regional Hospital (LRH)
- Quarantine area established at LRH
- All remote airstrips to be operationlised
- Travel to and from Brazil to be minimized
- Conservation International (CI) has suspended all events with villages
Pomeroon-Supenaam (Region 2)
Effective Saturday 28 March 2020
- Persons receiving pensions at the Post Offices are asked not to congregate in numbers
- Religious leaders to minimise or stop congregating in their place of worship
- All Supermarkets, Pharmacies and Stores to be closed at 6pm daily
- Taxi – Cars are only allowed to take Two (2) passengers
- Buses and Mini Buses are only allowed half of the registered number of Passengers
- Speed Boats are only allowed half of the registered number of Passengers
- Transport Operators MUST sanitize their cars, buses and boats after each journey
- Beaches, Lakes, Resorts and access to Indigenous Village are closed
- Bars, Rum Shops, Food Stands and restaurants to be closed 6 pm daily and take away only during opening hours
- Curfew in effect from 8 pm to 5 am daily. Personnel delivering essential service will be allowed such movement.
- Hospitals visitors – Only ONE visitor per patient
- Visiting Times – Public Hospital Suddie 6 am to 7 am and 4 pm to 5pm Oscar Joseph District Hospital Charity 4 pm to 5 pm
- All persons entering Hospitals and Health Centres must submit themselves to Screening
Linden Town Council
- A curfew will go into effect on Saturday, March 28,2020 from 18:00hrs until 06:00hrs the following morning for the period of two weeks.
- Pharmacies and supermarkets will be allowed to open their doors until 19:00hrs and the police will be patrolling the area. Anyone found on the road after 20:00hrs will have to answer to the lawmen.
Lethem Town Council
- All public parks and sports ground in Lethem closed for two weeks with effect from March 23, 2020
Mahdia Town Council
- Implemented 9pm – 5 am curfew for 14 days from March 28- April 10, 2020.
National Sports Commission (NSC)
- Facilities closed for 2 weeks include the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, National Gymnasium, National Aquatic Center, Colgrain Pool and the National Racquet/Sports Resource Centre
Protected Areas Commission (PAC)
- Georgetown Zo0 closed from March 17, 2020 until further notice
- Botanical Gardens and National Park remains open to public
Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA)
- Waiver of all GTA Registration and Licensing Fees for tourism businesses for
6 months beginning April 1, 2020.
- Per the GTA Act, 2020 licenses are valid until December 31, 2020.
- Waiver of all fees for GTA-led training programmes for 6 months beginning April 1, 2020.
- Institute a 50% subsidized training fee for First Aid Training led by recognized training institutions for 6 months beginning April 1, 2020.
- To increase the resiliency of the sector, the GTA is communicating to the domestic and global travel industry to remain flexible and toencourage patrons to postpone and not cancel. Specific recommendations for tourism operators in Guyana follow:
- Revise your cancellation and booking policy to support easy postponement of bookings, as opposed to outright cancellations, for those who want to book now, especially for the upcoming holiday periods.
- Clearly communicate specifically how your health, hygiene and sanitation standards are now more rigorous than they were previously.
- Clearly communicate your “postpone and not cancel” policy when people book.
- GTA is postponing paid media but will continue to share inspiring photos and images with Destination Guyana’s growing audience. Those with human-interest stories or images are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Destination Development. Through videoconferencing, one-on-one meetings, and social distancing, the GTA is supporting individual businesses and communities that have requested technical assistance during the crisis. The focus is on product development in communities and providing recommendations on how to manage the changes businesses are facing.
The Ministry of Public Health is appealing to the general public to remain calm and to implement all the advisories relating to personal hygiene, social distancing and general prevention.