As Guyana and the rest of the world grapples with the devastating effects of COVID-19, various local stakeholder groups have been adding their bit to help in the containment of the pandemic here.
Presidential Candidate of the People’s Progressive Party and former Housing and Tourism Minister, Irfaan Ali, described it as “a very important national emergency.”
Ali heads the National Stakeholder Forum put together by the political party to lead a national response to the pandemic.
In a Facebook live on Sunday morning, Ali urged Guyanese to be serious about confronting the realities of a fight that dictates all hands on deck.
Preventative measures, he outlined, are key to halting a disease that has ravaged the globe.
As of April 4, Guyana recorded 24 confirmed case, four deaths.
“I’ve spoken to a number of health professionals and those who are on the frontline working on this issue, and they are all of the opinion that the next two weeks are critical weeks for us,” Ali asserted.
“The next two weeks are important weeks for us if we are to flatten the curve or if we allow COVID-19 to get the better of us.”
“We cannot do this alone. Please, stay at home. Please, wear your mask, sanitise, wash your hands thoroughly. Preventative measures is our answer; it’s our greatest weapon in flattening this curve.”
A collective effort, Ali opined, is necessary if the fight against the disease is a successful one. “All of us must be part of this fight.”
While he lauded the bravery of the frontline workers and those who have supported the party’s efforts to put together a national response, Ali encouraged Guyanese to take follow the guidelines to safeguard themselves, their families and the wider community.
“We were all out there yesterday and this morning ensuring, as far as possible, we get every Guyanese to mask up. Wearing a mask is an important part in helping to fight against this COVID-19,” Ali said.
“The reality that confronts us, the reality that we must deal with, and the reality that each one of us possess is the ability to help in confronting. We have to do this together. We have to work to ensure that all of us come out on top of this in the next two weeks together.”
The National Stakeholder Forum, Ali divulged, has been implementing a number of initiatives, many targeted at the grassroot and community level and nationally.
Apart from campaigns to educate the populace on how to take preventative measures, Ali added they have been working on securing much-needed equipment for healthcare workers to ensure they are properly outfitted in their execution of their duties.
“We have to act together, because if one citizen is left exposed, then the entire country is left exposed. That is why this requires a national effort. That is why this requires everyone to be onboard, everyone to get involved,” Ali pleaded.
“All the NDCs and Town Councils, we’re calling upon you to help in your communities; ensure that every single person in your community has access or try to help them to get access to a mask. We can’t do this alone.”
“We need every single Guyanese, beyond the political divide, beyond the social divide, beyond the economic divide; this is about life, this is about saving lives, this is about securing the life of every single Guyanese.”
Ali stated that Guyanese must be cognisant of the medical advice that has proven to help slow or overcome the disease in various parts of the globe. He pointed to the use of hand sanitisers, the practice of social distancing and the wearing of a mask as simple steps in helping to combat the spread of the disease.
Ali used the forum to call on all community-based leaders to get involved in the fight, as the ultimate aim “is to secure Guyana as a whole.”
This, he reiterated, is critical if the number of cases and deaths is to remain low in Guyana.
“Our healthcare system is not designed and cannot take off a huge outbreak of COVID-19. We have many limitations- there is a small amount of respirators and ventilators. So for us in Guyana, the preventative measures are much, much more critical and important in securing ourselves and ensuring we flatten that curve,” Ali explained.
Globally, the numbers have soared to over 1.2 million cases and over 67,000 deaths in 209 countries.