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“We need people to stop being complacent” Health Minister

There should be greater enforcement of the COVID-19 related public health measures as the Guyana heads into two major religious holidays next week. Both the Hindu festival, Phagwah and the Easter holidays would be observed next week. This has seen the Ministry of Health as well as the National COVID-19 Task Force appealing to persons to observe the guidelines.

On Friday, Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony described the breaches of guidelines by persons and businesses as “flagrant” as he said that t a number of businesses have not been complying with the guidelines and people are simply not wearing their masks when sitting in close proximity. “We need people to stop being complacent,” Dr Anthony said on Friday.

Several business owners and operators have been charged for breaches of the these public health measures but the mere charges and small fines simply have had no effect on these places. Several entities continue to operate hosting large gatherings and the Task Force itself lacks the power to enforce stronger measures.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health is hoping that its COVID-19 vaccination programme can ensure herd immunity. On Friday, Dr Anthony while providing an update on the ongoing vaccination said that the Ministry is still hoping to cover an estimated 59,000 persons who are 60 years old and above and some 12,000 health care workers.

“We had doses for 50,000 people or so, so we still have a number of persons who are 60 years and above that we will have to administer the vaccine to and there still a number of health care workers we will have to give to, so we haven’t really exhausted the first round but as we get, more vaccines, the idea is that we will now be able to roll out to a lower age group,” Dr Anthony pointed out.

Guyana is expecting some 200,000 of the Russian made “Sputnik V”  while it is to get additional vaccines through COVAX.

“They have now written to us to say we will be getting 24,000 doses of the vaccines, so we are hopeful that will come in soon.”