Health system must be able to handle new COVID-19 cases post-measures

−Six criteria must be met or period of measures extended

−PAHO/WHO recommends

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, April 18, 2020

The Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) has advised the Ministry of Public Health that six criteria must be met before the emergency measures are lifted

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PAHO/WHO country representative Dr. William Adu-Krow

During a virtual media conference on Friday, PAHO/WHO Country Representative, Dr. William Adu-Krow explained the guidelines which have been outlined the WHO.

  1. Transmission should be controlled.
  2. The Health system should be capable of dealing with any case that is confirmed after the curfew.
  3. Importation risk must be managed well.
  4. Outbreak risks in health settings should be minimised.
  5. Preventative measures must be in place in social settings such as workplaces and school.
  6. Communities should be fully educated, engaged and empowered

Dr. Adu-Krow noted that the local health system may be burdened if any one of these measures is not met. He presented a scenario as an example.

“Assuming the airport is opened and we have 200 people coming from the US every day, the healthcare system should be able to have control over those 200 persons otherwise we will have a rise in confirmed cases”

The PAHO/WHO representative emphasised that much is being done as the local health sector is already partnering with private facilities to do testing. The Civil Defence Commission and other private entities are distributing hampers to vulnerable persons. In addition, many businesses have implemented measures to protect their staff and customers form contracting COVID-19

These goals are part of the Strategic Preparedness and Response plan to fight the novel coronavirus, which the Ministry of Public Health is working assiduously to achieve

Goal number one is to slow down transmission by scaling up emergency response, educating the public, intensifying contact tracing, quarantining these contacts and expanding COVID-19 surveillance.

The second goal seeks to ensure that there is adequate care for all those in institutional isolation and those critically ill COVID-19 patients that require special care while goal number three speaks to minimized impact on the healthcare system.

The emergency measures currently put in place cover one month, April 3 to May 3, 2020, after which based on the current situation regarding transmission and spread of the coronavirus locally, an extension will be reviewed by the National COVID-19 Task Force.

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Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.