PAHO/WHO warns Guyana against removing curfew too early
With 63 positive cases of the COVID-19 recorded in Guyana as of April 17, 2020, resident representative of the Pan American Health Organisation/ World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Dr William Adu-Krow has warned against relaxing restrictions too early.
The WHO had projected Guyana recording 20,000 positive cases by May 01 but Dr Adu-Krow during a virtual press conference on Friday, said the measures implemented by the Government on April 3 have been working to stem the spread of the disease.
He said more should be done to ensure that those who are not complying with the measures are dealt with but Government must not be too hasty in its move to remove the national curfew.
“The second advise that I have for Government is that we do not think about removing the measures too soon…we do not think about removing the measures too quickly,” he said.
The PAHO/WHO representative added that “if at May 01, the Government relaxes all the curfew and everything…it (positive cases) begins an exponential rise…we will be getting over 5,000 cases in no time.”
At the moment, the Government has the requisite materials and medical staff to deal with the confirmed and suspected cases.
However, if the cases are to increase rapidly, the Georgetown Public Hospital has requested eight types of specialist doctors and paramedics to assist in fighting the disease.
Dr. Adu-Krow said the Ministry of Public Health has engaged the Cuban and Chinese medical brigades to assist if the need arises.
The measures run from April 3 to May 3. On that date, it is expected that the country’s two international airports will reopen to incoming flights except if the restrictions are extended. So far, the Ministry of Education has extended the closure of schools indefinitely.
Dr. Adu-Krow said it is understood that the livelihood of persons are affected even as the global fight is ongoing to save lives.
However, he said it is important not to sacrifice one for the other, explaining that the more persons stop the spread of the Coronavirus Disease, the easier it will be to rid the country of the pandemic.
“We cannot say that we are fighting for lives and people should not be home for two years and then they have no livelihood. We (also) cannot say that because of livelihood, businesses are hurting and therefore, we would not think about lives and then open too quickly…We have to find a middle point between lives and livelihoods and it’s that little point that is key,” the PAHO/WHO representative said.
Dr. Adu-Krow told reporters that there are some guidelines which should be followed for lifting the curfew.
This can be done once the transmission of COVID-19 is controlled, the health system capacities are in place to detect, test and treat every case and trace every contact; outbreak risks in health settings are minimized; preventative measures are implemented in social settings such as workplaces and schools; importation risks can be managed and communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to adjusted to the “new norm” which includes continued physical distancing.