Special emergency teams to enforce COVID-19 curfew, other measures

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The National Covid-19 Task Force (NCTF) has taken note of the consistent and frequent violations of existing restrictions to protect citizens from the spread of the Novel Coronavirus.

As a consequence, it has requested the Ministry of Public Security to assist in setting up Emergency Enforcement Teams to arrest the situation which poses serious health risks. The teams, once established, will be asked to support the Guyana Police Force in enforcing the curfew and other COVID-19 measures.

Those measures, among other things, prohibit large gatherings and encourage the use of masks and sanitary practices.

Director of Operations of the COVID-19 Task Force Secretariat, Mark Archer said the teams will also be requested to go into new hotspots and areas of interest to tackle the situation.

“To bring an end to some of the lawlessness that is ongoing in mining camps and areas away from Coast… we also saw what was happening on the seawall and the special emergency enforcement teams will have to deal with this,” Archer said during a virtual press briefing Saturday.

He said right now the enforcement being done by the Guyana Police Force seems “too haphazard.”

The teams will have a singular focus of looking into the violations.

The NCTF said it expects this will amount to a better response from the teams. It was not stated when these teams will come into effect.

The Ministry of Public has repeatedly been asking citizens to adhere to the measures put in place to protect against COVID-19 but persons continue to flout the measures in place by hosting birthday parties and congregating on the seawalls every day.

There is little to no enforcement of the measures by the Guyana Police Force.

Guyana has been seeing a steady increase in the number of positive cases which now stands at 256, this is inclusive of 12 deaths and 117 recoveries.

As of July 3, there are 125 active cases in isolation at various facilities, 16 persons in institutional quarantine and one patient in the COVID-19 ICU.

To date, 2,711 tests have been conducted with 2,455 of those being negative.

Persons are again reminded to continue practising social distancing in the workplace, public spaces, and while using public transportation to reduce the spread of the coronavirus disease. They are also reminded to practise frequent hand washing/sanitizing and always wear a face mask if they have to go out.

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