Regional officials must lead by example as Guyana adapts to ‘new normal’ -President Ali

His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali has said that Guyana could be dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for the next three years and called on regional officials to exercise leadership as the country adapts.

Addressing the newly sworn-in Regional Chairmen and Vice Chairmen at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) on Monday, the Head of State said even with the advent of a viable vaccine, leaders will have to work together to return the country to normalcy.

“You assume office under very trying conditions both locally and globally. We are dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. This, by itself, requires a special kind of leadership. The pandemic does not end with a viable vaccine. For us as leaders, our work has been cut-out by the pandemic at least for the next three years,” the Head of State said.

The President said co-operation is necessary to return communities to sustainability.

Small businesses that were tremendously affected by the pandemic will also need special assistance.  The President said he has already received information from some regions, detailing the far-reaching social and economic impact the pandemic has caused so far.  

In this regard, President Ali said the Government is embarking on a holistic approach to the fallout of the pandemic.

“You have already reprogrammed US$60 million that will be spent at the community level, that will be spent at the regional level, to bring relief and put us back as close as possible to a situation of normalcy,” President Ali said.

COVID-19 has been spreading across Guyana. The latest data from the Ministry of Health shows Demerara-Mahaica (Region Four) with almost 1,900 cases, most of which have recovered. Barima-Waini (Region One) follows with 677 cases and Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine) with 375 cases.

Region One Chairman, Mr. Brentnol Ashley said his region has a proactive task force that addresses cases as they arise. Areas with notable high cases have seen a zero per cent markdown because of new policies.

Over in Region Nine, Chairman, Mr. Brian Allicock said he is aiming for a “straight line” in cases by December. He said the rigid work of Toshaos has helped to flatten the curve in communities. Currently, 28 persons are under quarantine and 317 have already recovered he said. There were also four related deaths.

Meanwhile, Region Four Chairman, Mr. Daniel Seeram said with support from Central Government, the region has been involved in its own COVI-CURB campaign.

“We have gotten some literature that we have passed out. We have been working hand in hand with the Police and we are looking to further enforce the gazetted order out for COVID-19,” he said, adding that the region is committed to continued collaboration with the administration to reduce transmission.

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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.