Guyana participates in Foreign Ministers meeting to discuss measures to contain spread of COVID-19
DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Minister of Foreign Affair, the Hon. Dr. Karen Cummings, today participated in a videoconference with counterparts from Latin America, the Caribbean and Germany to discuss joint measures to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as well as a course of action to counter the economic impact.
The virtual conference was hosted by the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, under the framework of Germany’s Latin America and Caribbean Initiative, which was launched in 2019.
In her remarks, Minister Cummings highlighted the timeliness of the meeting to address the global concern of COVID-19, its resultant impact on domestic economies, social sectors and the lives and livelihoods of people across the world.
“I must express Guyana’s appreciation to you, Minister Maas for convening this meeting which allows us to dialogue on the challenges and difficulties being faced by our states and to chart a course forward to ensure that all countries, particularly those most vulnerable, find sustainable solutions to address their circumstances.”
The Minister noted that in the case of the smaller states in the Caribbean, COVID-19 has exacerbated their vulnerabilities and increased their susceptibility to shocks, particularly at a time when the region is preparing for the 2020 hurricane season.
She noted that in Guyana the necessary public health measures implemented – to stop the spread of the virus – have impacted the economy.
“The cost of medical equipment and supplies along with the human resource scale-up required at this time is challenging for some small countries like Guyana, where already we grapple with a vast coastland and difficult hinterland terrain. Nevertheless, Guyana has taken the bold step to establish a Centre for Disease Control.”
The need for critical financial support to undertake other significant and costly health systems strengthening initiatives required to competently manage the spread of the Coronavirus in Guyana was also pointed out.
“Our response to the crisis through the prioritisation of public health and preservation of human resources has resulted in the diversion of already scarce resources and the seeking of new resources to combat and manage the spread of the coronavirus when the ability of some of our countries to earn revenue from tourism, trade and their related sectors has been severely impacted.”
Minister Cummings commended Germany for its support for debt relief for the hardest-hit developing and emerging economies. As well as its “recognition of the important role multilateral institutions such as the United Nations and the World Health Organisation play in the response to the virus and for its pledge of €525 Million towards the development of vaccine and medicines for COVID-19.”
The Foreign Affairs Minister welcomed the support and cooperation of partners like Germany and expressed the hope that such partnerships will spur a stronger international response.
One that is all-encompassing, equitable and allows fair access to medical and financial resources; has a sustained response to the pandemic; develops a holistic recovery plan and creates more resilient health, social, economic, technological and research-led systems.