Contract not yet signed for former Ocean View Hotel- Harmon

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The Government has not yet finalized its arrangements with the owners of the former Ocean View Hotel which is being rehabilitated on the East Coast of Demerara to serve as a COVID-19 hospital.

Construction commenced on the facility almost two weeks ago and includes the complete removal and replacement of the roof along with drainage and internal works.

“I cannot say specifically what is the cost right now but I do know that the present person who is in possession and occupation of the building has allowed for us to start working I believe even before any formal contracts have been signed,” Director-General at the Ministry of the Presidency Joseph Harmon said on Thursday.

He noted that a decision was taken to move ahead with the rehabilitation works as the Government cannot “waste time” when more persons are getting infected.

Construction ongoing at the former Ocean View Hotel. [Photo: News Room]
“The financial arrangements are still being worked out but because it is a matter of national urgency, I think that facility was made available to the Ministry of Public Health,” the Director-General added.

The former Ocean View Hotel, the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall and the National Gymnasium were earmarked to serve as isolation and quarantine centres on April 4.

At the East Coast Demerara facility, there will be ICU rooms and isolation rooms for persons confirmed with COVID-19. The Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence had said that the Ocean View facility will have 300 beds for critical patients.

Guyana has so far confirmed 55 cases of the COVID-19. The PAHO/WHO has projected that the country can get up to 20,000 cases.

Harmon boasted that the Ocean View facility will be the first in the entire Caribbean where the Government is dedicating a facility to fight the deadly disease.

He said the facility after converted to the COVID-19 hospital, will be used on a long term basis to deal with other pandemics or epidemics.

“Going forward, that is going to be a facility for this purpose so I think it is something we should embrace in a very positive way,” he urged.

Several concerns have been raised about the location of the hotel as it is prone to flooding during spring tides.

But Harmon said this was all taken into consideration by engineers who are working on the facility.

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