NCTF announcements following virtual meeting

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) today held a virtual meeting as it continued to practice social distancing and makes the following announcements:

1. The NCTF again commends the Minister of Public Health Hon. Volda Lawrence and the team of dedicated persons at the Health Emergency Operations Centre for their tireless work in containing the spread of COVID-19 in Guyana beyond the five confirmed cases to date.

2. The NCTF commends those citizens and businesses who have been heeding the public health advisories and have been practicing social distancing and good hygienic practices. The NCTF however remains deeply concerned about the large number of persons who continue to ignore the advisories. The NCTF pleads with all Guyanese to play their part in ensuring that they take the recommended actions in helping to curb the spread of COVID-19.

3. The NCTF urges persons to ‘decluster’ in public spaces, to zealously practice social distancing and to refrain from socializing. Guyanese are advised to spend as little time in public as is possible and to only leave their homes when absolutely necessary.

4. The Guyana Police Force will shortly commence a campaign to advise persons against gathering in public spaces and to discourage persons who are found to be doing so.

5. The NCTF commends the Guyana Association of Bankers for their decision to reduce banking hours. This will result in minimizing the contact time for members of the public which is consistent with social distancing practices.

6. The NCTF urges the owners and operators of all businesses but especially of non-essential businesses to adopt reasonable measures and practices to discourage persons from gathering in large numbers and from engaging in socializing, particularly at late hours into the night.

7. The NCTF reaffirms the closure of Guyana’s airports to incoming international flights, save and except technical stops for aircrafts that require fuel and specially authorized flights. For the avoidance of doubt, “specially authorized flights” will only be considered in extreme humanitarian and emergency cases. Outgoing cargo flights and outgoing medivac flights will continue to be permitted.

8. The NCTF warns all Guyanese, particularly those in the Corentyne, not to enter Suriname illegally by boat. Those who do so may be subject to seizure of their vessel and engine, arrest and deportation. Persons deported to Guyana as a result will also be subject to the Ministry of Public Health’s mandatory quarantine protocols. Neither the NCTF nor the Government of Guyana can commit to making diplomatic or other representation on their behalf for the return of their vessels and/or engines.

The NCTF comprises Prime Minister and First Vice President Hon. Moses Nagamootoo (Chairman), Vice President and Minister of Public Security Hon. Khemraj Ramjattan, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Hon. Basil Williams SC, Minister of Public Health Hon. Volda Lawrence, Minister of Finance Hon. Winston Jordan, Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Dr. Karen Cummings, Minister of Education Hon. Dr. Nicolette Henry, Minister of Communities Hon. Ronald Bulkan, Minister of Public Infrastructure Hon. David Patterson, Minister of Natural Resources Hon. Raphael Trotman and Minister of Citizenship Hon. Winston Felix.