Airports re-open Monday with strict COVID-19 guidelines in place
All is set to re-open the Eugene F. Correia and the Cheddi Jagan International Airports from Monday (October 12, 2020) to commercial flights.
According to Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill, all passengers will be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test on arrival which was taken at least seven days prior to travel.
However, only those with results less than three days old will be allowed to bypass the second test at the airport.
“If the PCR test is done within 72hrs of travel, the passenger will not be required to do another PCR test on arrival. If the PCR test is done within 4-7 days of travel, the passenger will be required to do a PCR test on arrival,” the Minister said in a recorded statement disseminated by the Department of Public Information (DPI) on Sunday.
Previously, the airports were only opened to cargo flights, repatriation, medical evacuation and special authorized flights.
The Minister said the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has developed a comprehensive list of health and safety measures at airports and on aircraft to ensure the safety of staff and the travelling public.
“Given that some of these measures are new, passengers are advised to plan their travel ahead of time and be prepared to arrive early at international airports to give themselves enough time to go through the various screening protocols established,” the Minister advised as he plead with passengers to exercise patience, consideration and caution when travelling.
Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony in his remarks said swabbing will be done at the airports while the PCR tests which passengers arrive with, will be validated by local authorities to ensure it is authentic.
“We will be able to do the swabbing and the analysis and once that is being done, you will have to remain at the airport. Once we confirm the results that you are negative, then you will be allowed to leave the airport,” Dr. Anthony said.
President Irfaan Ali Sunday noted that the decision to reopen the airports must be taken to “our economy functioning and going” and “put our country back to work.”
“Our country remains, along with the rest of the world, under the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must learn to both live with it and deal with it,” he affirmed.
The President said he is satisfied that “on the advice of my Ministers and the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority that both our airports are fully prepared and ready to operate in a manner which will ensure the safety of all who work there and pass through them.”
“I appreciate the role that the Private Sector is playing in making this possible in collaboration with the Ministry of Health who will be ensuring that no one enter our country through our airports without being subjected to the highest standard of testing.
“Like the rest of the world, we have entered into a new means of international travel, we have taken our time in order that we do it professionally and we do it right. Thank you and God Bless Guyana,” the Head of State added.
Chief Executive Officers of the CJIA, Ramesh Ghir and the Eugene F. Correia International Airport Col Ret’d Anthony Mekdeci, said they too are confident that the systems in place are adequate for the restart of commercial flights.
“We will try to make this experience as seamless as possible for the passengers,” Ghir noted.
The CJIA is expected its first commercial flight on Monday while the Eugene F. Correia International Airport which has been operating domestic flights since the onset of the pandemic, is expecting its first international flight later this month.
Guyana has so far confirmed 3,405 COVID-19 cases of which 2,304 persons recovered and 103 persons died.