Health and safety of Guyanese remains a top priority – PM Nagamootoo

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, April 23, 2020

Prime Minister and Chairman of the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF), the Honourable Moses Nagamootoo has said the closure of Guyana’s airspace and borders is “one of the significant measures” implemented to combat the presence of the novel coronavirus locally.

“From our observation, if we were to give recognition to any single measure which has so far prevented or limited the community spread of COVID-19 in Guyana it would be the closure of the borders and airspaces from imported cases,” the Prime Minister stated during a virtual press briefing on Wednesday.


Hon. Moses Nagamootoo, Prime Minister of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana

The NCTF Chair emphasised that the health and safety of Guyanese remain a top priority for the government.

The NCTF Chair stated that while the task force remains resolute in its decision to implement these measures it is prepared to extend assistance to Guyanese citizens who have been stranded abroad. But advice must first be sought before a decision is made to bring them home.

It was highlighted that the task force has been collaborating the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority and it was decided that restrictions will not be placed on internal cargo flights.

However, the NCTF has “stipulated certain guidelines for passengers on domestic flights in keeping with physical distancing.”

Prime Minister Nagamootoo also disclosed that security efforts have been increased at the country’s borders.

Recently, Minister of Public Security, Honourable Khemraj Ramjattan disclosed that the government is addressing the issue of backtrackers who are still attempting to cross the Suriname, Venezuela and Brazilian borders.

There were reports of persons coming into the country from the Kumaka and Baramita areas in the Barima-Waini region.

On a radio interview on April 21, the Public Security Minister disclosed that 43 persons attempted to enter via the Kumaka Landing but were informed that the border is closed and were sent back.

The Minister also pointed out that monitoring of the border with Suriname is ongoing since persons are attempting to use the Corentyne River. “Some of them have had their boats seized by the Surinamese authorities” he mentioned.

The Public Security Minister emphasised that these actions constitute noncompliance with the emergency orders implemented to protect the health and safety of Guyanese

“We are not going to have the perfect situation, but as best as possible we have to do what we can and warn them that this is very dangerous; very, very dangerous,” he underscored.

In the meantime, the NCTF continues to be actively engaged across all sectors to ensure a proactive and effective approach is taken to combat the novel coronavirus.