The Government of Guyana is carefully monitoring COVID-19 variants abroad and will adjust and implement measures where necessary to protect Guyanese, says Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, during today’s sitting of the National Assembly. He was at the time fielding questions from the former Public Health Minister, Dr Karen Cummings.
He said that due to monitoring that Guyana was able to track the P1 strain, and took the initiative to pull the plug on travel to and from Brazil.
“We have been looking at the various strains that they have. The one that is next door (Brazil) – the P1, we have been looking at that particular strain and what is happening in Manaus and the state of Roraima. And that is one of the reasons why we’ve closed the border between Guyana and Brazil, and we’ve also stopped all flight from Guyana and vice versa. So, we are monitoring the different strains. Right now, the D11 strain, that was first found in the UK, is now in 80 different countries. The other strain, D1135 – the South African strain, as it’s commonly known, that is right now in 40 different countries. The P1, which was discovered in Japan from travellers emanating from Brazil, that one is in 10 different countries,” he informed the House.
The Health Minister said that more information will become available in the coming weeks at the World Health Organisation delves more into these mutations. Meanwhile, Guyana is taking advantage of its links with a network of 22 laboratories to learn more about these strains and their circulation.
Further, the minister told the House that Guyana has a partnership with The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), which facilitates the shipping of samples from Guyana for gene sequencing to determine COVID variants. He said that the ministry is awaiting results from 10 samples that were sent through this mechanism. Additionally, Guyana is working along with the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) to be able to send samples to the Centers for Diseases in the United States for gene sequencing.