By Isanella Patoir
Approximately 160 Guyanese who are stranded will be able to leave the United States of America and return to Guyana this weekend and once tested negative for COVID-19, they will be placed on home quarantine for seven days.
The passengers have to complete PCR COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arrival and once negative, will be allowed to board the flight.
“For the avoidance of doubt, home quarantine means quarantining at their respective homes, not at a government facility. Persons will be required to remain at their homes for 7 days and not leave for any reason whatsoever other than to seek emergency medical attention,” said Imran Khan, the Secretary of the COVID-19 Task Force Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Director-General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority Egbert Field told the News Room Tuesday that the first batch of Guyanese who are returning made contact with the Consulate General months ago.
“They are passengers who went out there for various reasons and would have registered their names with the Consulate.
“The Consulate made contact with them on a priority basis, first come first serve – those who registered early will be contacted,” the Director-General explained.
Mr Field said that the National COVID-19 Task Force is still working out the details of the flight which should be finalised by June 03.
“The Government is trying to have its first set of stranded Guyanese return to Guyana sometime over this weekend out of the first flight coming out of Miami; we are looking at bringing out just about 160 stranded passengers,” the Director-General said.
The passengers are also covering all costs associated with their return and are also required to fill out an entry form before approval is given for them to return.
Mr Field assured that the remaining Guyanese will also return home in a few weeks.
“It has been a logistical nightmare just trying to put this flight together but once we start we will be able to deal with the remaining Guyanese I am sure within the coming weeks.
“It is a step by step process and that is why it is taking this length of time but the Task Force has given the go-ahead for limited repatriation flights to be conducted,” the Director-General said.
Discussions are still ongoing on which airline will be used to bring the stranded Guyanese home.
“The call is between Eastern Airlines and Caribbean Airlines; it looks like we will be shifting focus on using Eastern Airlines because of the capacity at this point in time.”
He further explained that the Aviation Authority will interchange between Eastern and Caribbean Airlines depending on the location of the passengers.
The Director-General could not say when the second batch of Guyanese is likely to arrive.
He noted that the second flight will be determined by how many passengers indicate that they want to return to Guyana.
The Director-General said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has compiled a list of Guyanese stranded in the various countries and are in contact with the Civil Aviation Authority.
The National COVID-19 Task Force recently announced that some 300 Guyanese stranded in several countries will be allowed to return.
Guyana closed its borders and ports of entry on March 18 to guard against the spread of COVID-19.