The Government on Friday confirmed that 54 persons have travelled to Guyana between January 18 and February 28, 2020, from countries affected by the new strain of the Coronavirus.
All of the passengers, which included Guyanese, were screened and 32 persons were found to be free from signs and symptoms of the infection after 14 days, while 18 are still under surveillance.
In a breakdown, the Government disclosed that there were 51 persons who arrived from mainland China or Hong Kong.
Of the total arriving passengers, 37 were Chinese Nationals, 12 Guyanese inclusive of 10 students, one tourist and a child and one each from Finland and the United States of America.
There were two Ukrainians and one Singaporean screened and cleared for entry to Guyana.
The Ministry of Public Health was able to contact 53 of the passengers on a daily basis while the person arriving from Finland has gone on to Suriname.
According to the statement, four persons indicated that they were not feeling well and were visited by medical team from Georgetown and Linden Hospitals. However, they were all diagnosed with other medical conditions and cleared as suspects for COVID-19.
The Ministry of Public Health is maintaining a high-level vigilance for the COVID-19 and to expand capacity to detect, diagnose and treat any suspected case.
In partnership with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Guyana has developed the capacity to test locally for the Coronavirus along with testing for Influenza A and B which present similarly to the COVID-19.
Dr. Gresh, PAHO Virologist, trained Staff from the National Reference Laboratory from February 17-21, 2020, thus strengthening Guyana’s Laboratory facilities to do its own testing for the Coronavirus.
The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) remains ready for the testing of COVID-19.
The GPHC has a fully equipped 14 bed unit and Diamond Hospital and West Demerara have capacity to isolate and manage cases of COVID-19, the statement outlined.
“The Isolation areas are equipped and personal protective equipment (N95 Mask, gloves and sanitizers) along with essential medicines and other supplies are in stock,” the Government said.
The Ministry continues to develop isolation capacity at most of the main public health facilities. Seven private hospitals also have the capacity to isolate suspected cases until a diagnosis can be confirmed.
Additionally, eight additional Medex have been deployed to Port Health Authorities while training of all categories of staff has intensified inclusive of Doctors, Nurses, Auxiliary Staff.
Training is ongoing at Ogle, CJIA, Moleson Creek, Lethem and is currently taking place in Region #7 –Bartica, the Government said.
Immigration and Customs Officers have been apprised of what to look for, and additional supplies have been dispatched to all workers at critical points, in the Ministry of Public Health’s effort for early detection and infection control of COVID-19.
The Coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and has caused the death of thousands of persons. However, recent reports indicate that the spread of the virus has decreased in China but increased elsewhere. The WHO in its daily update reported that there were 329 cases in China –the lowest in more than a month –in the past 24 hrs.
Iran and Italy have become major centres of infection, with people travelling from there spreading the virus further afield, according to the BBC.