MoPH emphasizes basic hygienic practices to prevent Coronavirus transmission

−As Novel coronavirus now classified a pandemic by WHO

−Persons traveling from several countries being flagged

−Tests for virus being done; no positive cases to date

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The Ministry of Public Health is intensifying its public awareness of preventative measures to take against the novel coronavirus. The Ministry is engaging sections of the population on what they need to know about the disease, how it can be prevented and what measures are in place to protect the local population.


Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence

This comes in light of reports of cases being diagnosed in several South American and Caribbean countries including Brazil, French Guiana, Dominican Republic and most recently Jamaica.  As well as the WHO’s classification of COVID-19 as a pandemic, given the growing infection rate in several territories.

On Wednesday a seminar was held at the National Cultural Centre where healthcare providers, members of civil society, NGOs, representatives from the diplomatic community, the private sector and the general public were engaged.

It was outlined that coronavirus transmission can be prevented by simple handwashing and continued sanitizing of hands and surroundings. Also, basic health practices such as taking vitamins and preventative healthcare can go a long way in avoiding coronavirus.


Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shamdeo Persaud

According to the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shamdeo Persaud, global statistics indicate that COVID-19 will be the first pandemic that can be controlled through effective health promotion and preventative measures the approach to engage the public in this regard.

“Report number 40, published on March 11 indicates the total confirmed cases for COVID-19 stands at 103, 702 with 4,125 new cases in the last 24 hours. Importantly, deaths have crept up to above 4000. It’s now 4012 so the death rates now stand at 3.5% of all confirmed cases with 203 deaths occurring in the last 24 hours,” Dr. Persud stated.

The CMO also outlined some recent statistics noting that China – where the disease originated – has now managed to mitigate the spread. This gives countries like Guyana the opportunity to emphasize prevention and keep the virus beyond its borders.

He also indicated that in a further effort to protect Guyana, persons who have travelled to or will be travelling to a specific list of countries will be flagged. These include China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, The United Kingdom and Iran.


Attendees at the Coronavirus awareness seminar

“Those are some of the countries we have flagged, specifically persons who travelled to or from them within the last six weeks… those persons of interest are flagged and screened at the point and as a follow up to that there is a daily monitoring system, where we place them on home isolation and make daily calls. So far this has worked well.” Dr. Persaud said.

Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence called on the public to exercise responsibility with information they receive and to understand that a ‘hands-on’ approach is needed to keep COVID-19 beyond Guyana’s borders.

Minister Lawrence also explained that the Ministry intends to protect the local population at all cost and is, therefore, relying on all to play their part.


Attendees at the Coronavirus awareness seminar

“This task cannot be singularly managed by the Ministry of Public Health, so I am calling on all stakeholders, the private sector, the other government ministries, all agencies, NGOs as well as all our citizens resident in Guyana to demonstrate the will and national spirit so that our mobilisation against COVID-19 is a consorted and collective effort.”

In Guyana, several suspected cases were screened and tested locally for the diseases but these results came back negative. There was also a public called made for persons to join with the health ministry whether by contributing human resource or otherwise to ensure that the stance taken against coronavirus is maintained.

Among other speakers was PAHO/WHO Country Representative Dr. William Adu-Krow who expressed his confidence in the local health system to contain transmission and protect the local population from the Novel Coronavirus Disease. He, however, noted that the system in place could be strengthened to achieve the overall goal of protecting the local population from the Novel Coronavirus Disease.