The incumbent president, David Granger earlier this week, gave orders for the Health Ministry to take actions it sees fit, in combating the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Some of these measures include the restraining, isolating of persons and the burning of personal property.
However, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) says that these measures are too extreme, and may force fear unto those who contract the virus, and they will not come forward to reveal their status.

President,David Granger

“While, the FITUG believes that all and every practical step should be taken, we fail to see how what the Government has approved itself to pursue can really be helpful. In fact, it is our considered view that it could force Guyanese who may contract the virus, to become afraid to disclose their status given the wide-ranging and vast powers that the authorities now possess. While the officialdom has sought to downplay concerns, we believe, at the same time the extreme measures completely unnecessary at this time,” the federation said.

Further, the federation said that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had concluded that Guyana was among the least prepared in our hemisphere.

“Rather than seeking to catch up, an Executive Order was foisted on our people. That order has only, in our view, served to raise the already high temperature even higher given the sweeping powers it has placed in the hands of the ‘Authorities’,”  FITUG said.

The federation says that it is concerned about the shuttering of businesses and the lack of measures to assist both employees and employers.

“Another concern, the Federation is with regard to the effect on employment. Already, one business has indicated that it will have to send employees home for some period. The economic slowdown could linger for some time, yet it appears, that there is no attention being paid on this front. In other nations, we have seen pro-active public policies to alleviate such stresses on peoples and enterprises. This appears to be absent from our response though it is very much an important, and we daresay critical, element,” Fitug wrote.

Pursuant to the second provisio to section 21 (1) of the Public Health Ordinance, the President has the power to make such an order.
The president ordered that the Ministry of Public Health shall take measures to-
(a) restrain, segregate and isolate persons suffering from the disease, or may be likely from exposure to the infection, suffer from the disease;
(b) remove to the hospital and provide curative treatment of persons suffering from the disease;
(c) remove, disinfect, and destroy the personal effects, goods, building and any other article, material or thing exposed to infection from the disease;
(d) speedily bury, or cremate the dead;
(e) facilitate house-to-house visitation and inspection;
(f) facilitate the provision of medical aid and accommodation;
(g) promote cleanliness, ventilation and disinfection;
(h) prevent the spread of the disease on the seas, rivers and waters of Guyana, and on th ehig seas within twelve miles from the baseline, as well as on land;
(i) diagnose, prevent or check the disease, including the prohibition or restriction of movement of persons and public and private conveyances of any kind whatsoever within and to and from an infected area: and take any other measures considered necessary.


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