With strict systems in place to detect positive COVID-19 cases upon arrival, country representative of the Pan-American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Dr William Adu-Krow says he is not opposed to the Government’s plan to reopen airports in mid-September.
He said it is fairly risky but with the exception of Guyana’s patient zero, the majority of the other cases resulted from community transmission.
“Our very first case was an imported case but however, since that time, all the cases we’ve had, had been internal. We are not too sure about the cross border events and how many have led to cases but the 1,000 or so cases that we’ve had had all been internal,” Dr. Adu-Krow told the News Room during a recent interview.
He said of utmost importance must be the monitoring of persons entering Guyana and strengthening the health system to be able to deal with a possible influx of cases.
In this regard, he said the Government of Guyana is set to receive a number of ventilators shortly along with assistance from various agencies.
With this, he believes the health sector will be prepared.
“Mid-September is very good…The health system will have to be equipped enough so that if we have something untoward as a result of opening the airports then the health system will be able to deal with that,” he noted.
Dr Adu-Krow said, “the idea is to build a human force that can easily be deployed to deal with a particular case.”
Public Works Minister Juan Edghill on August 20 announced that the Government will embark on the second phase reopening of the airports from September 3.
In this phase, though in limited numbers, permanent residents, international workers and diplomats will also be allowed to come to Guyana.
All persons who want to enter Guyana during this period are expected to fill out a repatriation form which is being used for tracking by the health authorities. They must also present a negative PCR COVID-19 test result.
During a press conference, the Minister disclosed that the airport is also setting up a facility to conduct testing at the airport.
This will be in addition to strict protocols issued by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) for passengers, operators and airport handlers.
Shutting down the airport entirely only caused Guyana to lose millions of dollars. Did that stem the flow of covid? Obviously not.
What magic will mid Sep bring as opposed to now? Min Edgehill said all covid and other systems would be in place at the airport by the end of Aug. That on Guyana’s end everything would be ready. So why wait and lose more money?
Open the airport to regular travel by people who were born in Guyana and their families and let everyone follow the covid regulations. Many people said they filled the form since June and July and have not heard anything back yet.
Lock down is just a band-aid under which the wound is festering. Soon after lock down is lifted the virus re-emerges. Are we going to lock down until a vaccine is given to us-which is next March by the earliest. Impossible. Anarchy will rear its head as hunger and loss of income drive people on the streets to roam.
We have to live and work along with covid by putting all the necessary safeguards and regulations into place. That is the new normal.