Guyana to get 30,000 masks, ventilators from China

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Guyana is set to receive 30,000 masks, some ventilators and other medical equipment from China to aid in the fight against the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19); and it was revealed Saturday that the government here has approached India to use available funding to secure more equipment and is also considering asking Cuba to send in nurses and specialists.

Moses Nagamootoo, chairman of the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF), during a virtual press conference on Saturday, noted that the government approached China for assistance and the items have been shipped.

COVID -19 originated in China, where over 3,000 deaths were reported, and the country is managing to contain the disease.

Nagamotoo said the government has also approached the Indian Government for assistance under the US$14M grant given to Caribbean nations.

The sum was announced for community development projects but Nagamootoo said “it is low hanging fruit, as it were, to utilise Guyana’s allocation for supplies relevant to the COVID 19.”

The Government had also requested assistance from the World Bank to the tune of US$5M. It is yet to receive a response but Nagamootoo said he is “not aware of any loans or grants so far requested having been denied.”

“Guyana has not been deemed disqualified in receiving any assistance from anywhere,” he added.

He said a number of other institutions were also approached but did not disclose the names.

Additionally, the Chairman of the task force said the Ministry of Public Health is considering whether it is necessary to import medical practitioners from Cuba to assist Guyana in its fight against COVID-19.

He said, “from last week, some requests have been made for us to approach Cuba for medical personnel and nurses, some of these matters engaged the [Ministry of] Public health.”

There are reports that the request was made by the Georgetown Public Hospital which has been providing assistance to other regional hospitals in developing their capacity to tackle the disease.

Nagamootoo said if such a request is to move forward, it will have to reach the Task Force for approval for flights to enter Guyana since the airports have been closed to incoming flights since mid-March.

Guyana has confirmed 45 cases of the novel coronavirus thus far with six deaths. 193 persons have been tested so far and close to ten persons recovered.

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