Government’s only focus is to protect the lives of Guyanese – President Ali
– Says aim is to balance re-opening while shielding population from Covid-19
His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali today reiterated and reemphasised that his Government’s only focus is on protecting the lives of Guyanese.
The President who responded to the media regarding the price paid for the Sputnik V vaccines said that saving lives was his primary focus at the start of the pandemic and it remains his main focus to this day.
“Our focus was getting the vaccine. I have made this point a million times. My only focus and the focus of the Government is the protection of the lives of the people of Guyana. And I have made it clear from day one that I am going after the vaccines.”
President Ali reminded that the Government tried all avenues to source the vaccines including every manufacturer, every embassy and its ambassadors in every country.
“And we got it from this source and the only thing that matters to me is that we were able to get it. And I know that it has helped us tremendously in the fight against Covid.”
The Head of State, who was speaking to the media after the Guyana Defence Force Instruments of Commission and State Warrants presentation ceremony at State House, informed them that another batch of Sputnik V vaccine is expected to arrive in the country soon.
SYSTEMS IN PLACE
The President stressed that the pandemic is not a joke and that at times, necessary decisions must be made to ensure that citizens are protected.
He added that the measures that are being put in place are as balanced as possible, to ensure protection and to bring some form of normality.
The Head of State also noted that CARICOM took a position, save and except Trinidad and Tobago, that any regional citizen who has been vaccinated will be accepted into each other’s territory.
However, he noted that as it relates to the country’s national position, for now, the PCR test will be accepted given that the global vaccination rate is still very low, especially in developing nations.
“This is one of the consequences of vaccine inequality. Because if you are to say that only vaccinated people can now travel then those developing countries that have never had the opportunity to get access to the vaccine are automatically left out of the equation. So that is why the PCR test has to remain in place for some time until there is some level of equity.”
PFIZER FOR THE CHILDREN
President Ali reiterated that when the country is able to secure the Pfizer vaccine they will be used to vaccinate children. He stressed that education is important and that the long-term impact of the pandemic on the education system will be felt when a comprehensive assessment is done. He said that many countries are already producing “frightening” reports on the impacts so far.
“I’ve been travelling around this country and I know I’ve seen children who ought to have been in school they’re out of the system. So, we have to get back to school. We have to put the measures in place. We have to get vaccinated, the teachers have to get vaccinated and create the condition to ensure that we get back in school, and that is what we’re aiming for.”
CINEMAS AND RESTAURANTS
The Head of State also noted that the Government is assessing ways to increase vaccination, while cautiously reopening. He said that various proposals are being looked at, especially the re-opening of movie theatres and an increased capacity for restaurants.
The President explained that the cinemas have been “clamouring to be reopened” and as a result, the Government is looking at a proposal for reopening with all the guidelines and certain additions, like having special filters and only allowing a 40% capacity. Additionally, persons will have to have their vaccination card to enter the cinemas and will have to keep their masks on. Another proposal is to allow an increased capacity of vaccinated individuals at restaurants. “So, if you want to go to Palm Court, you want to go to the movies, you want to go to these places, then you have to be vaccinated. If you are not vaccinated, then you will have to wait a bit.”