Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony says that the extension of the vaccine requirement is necessary to create safer environments.
Recent changes to the COVID-19 measures will now require any person, who wishes to enter public buildings, privately owned businesses, schools, and places of worship, to be vaccinated or provide a negative PCR test taken within the past seven days. Last month, public transportation operators were required to get vaccinated, while government ministries and agencies were asked to only let in vaccinated persons. The unvaccinated were told to make appointments to access services.
Asked to comment on the new measures, Dr. Anthony said that they were formulated to keep Guyanese safe and to push back against the virus responsible for the deaths of 641 persons since March 2020.
“I think that it is very clear in the order, in section 17, where there is now a requirement; if you’re going to access any public space, you should be able to show your vaccination card once the people there ask for it. It is one way of ensuring that the environments in the public are much safer. Because if you have vaccinated people, then the chances are that we’ll have a much safer environment…It’s not only for the people who are accessing the service[but] it is also for the people who are working there. We have to create this safe environment if we’re going to push back against the COVID-19 disease,” he said.
The main parliamentary opposition, the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) has objected to the imposition of vaccination requirements, labeling it ‘wholly authoritarian’ and ‘unconstitutional’. The party has asked for the order to be rescinded and for more consultation with stakeholders.
Meanwhile, the country has recorded an additional 111 cases of the virus from 1,948 tests within the last 24 hours. The Minister has expressed concern.
He said that there are about 2,200 active cases in the country. Some 122 are hospitalised with 100 at the Ocean View facility. Thirty-eight of those patients at the hospital are in the Intensive Care Unit.
Minister Anthony said that Guyanese need to be more cautious. He added that ‘almost 99%’ of the persons hospitalised are unvaccinated, and ‘most’ of the patients in the ICU are also unvaccinated.
“So, we really want to appeal to people to make sure that they get their vaccination and protect themselves,” he said.