As Guyana confirms its first Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) case, President David Granger has advised that public gatherings and non-essential travel be discouraged. He has also advised that agencies continue to patrol irregular border crossings, and the continuation of the sensitization of key personnel at all air and sea ports.
Further, he reported that the Ministry of Public Health has designated three quarantine facilities, with others set to be identified shortly.
According to the Head of State, the Ministry, also, has:
• developed the local capacity to test for the COVID-19, thanks to training provided by the Pan-American Health Organization; it is on that capacity that we relied for this test result;
• assessed the readiness of our health facilities to meet the anticipated increase in demand on services;
• continued to fill existing gaps, including with respect of additional supplies and equipment, though, at the present time, the Ministry has enough personal protective equipment in the country for our health facilities. It has, also, adequate stores of respiratory medicine for the next three months;
• trained, and continues to train, health-care providers and first-responders; and
• heightened Active Surveillance.
These efforts, he said, are supported by a communications campaign to keep the population updated on the virus and its impacts and oversight provided by the Health Emergency Operations Centre. The National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) will be activated to provide sector wide support.
The Ministry of Public Health is also urging the public to adhere to infection prevention and control measures, particularly to:
• maintain a distance of at least one metre from persons who are coughing or sneezing;
• perform hand hygiene frequently by washing hands thoroughly with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer if hands are not visibly soiled;
• cover mouths and noses with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and then discarding it; and
• resist the habit to touch the face.
The President is appealing to the public to remain calm and to implement all the advisories relating to personal hygiene, social distancing and overall infection prevention and control.
“The Government of Guyana will continue to keep the public informed as we manage this public health challenge,” the President said.