By Akeem Greene
Advisor to the Ministry of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, says the government would consider the possibility of allowing only vaccinated persons to attend sport events.
Dr Ramsammy was responding to a question from the News Room Sport on Friday on whether fully vaccinated persons would be allowed to attend the upcoming international cricket matches at the National Stadium, Providence, East Bank Demerara.
“It is a reasonable expectation that could be permitted. The government would have to consider it and discuss it, and make a decision on it”, Dr. Ramsammy expressed.
He further added: “It is not something that is far-fetched, it is a reasonable thing that can be done, other countries are doing it and Guyana will not ignore that possibility.”
West Indies are scheduled to host Pakistan at Providence for three Twenty20 Internationals from July 31 – August 3, which forms part of a packed home series programme, and also includes visits from South Africa and Australia.
According to Cricket West Indies (CWI), “it is not determined whether fans will be allowed to attend matches in person.”
In April, organisers of the Hero Caribbean Premier League announced this year’s tournament will be held solely in St. Kitts and Nevis from August 28 and 50% capacity will be allowed for fans who are fully vaccinated.
Dr. Ramsammy encouraged the Guyana Cricket Board and other National Associations/Federations to raise the issue with the Government of Guyana since it is a “decision they [government] will have to make and given what we are seeing in other countries that vaccination significantly reduces transmission of the virus, we will begin to provide that incentive for citizens that if you want normal lives, you will have to be vaccinated.”
Other countries around the world, which have significantly vaccinated their population, have begun to relax rules with the hope of a return to normalcy.
Dr Ramsammy reiterated that the more persons opt to be fully vaccinated, the quicker the country can return to a state of normalcy. According to the former Health Minister, at this time, Guyana has about 33% of its adult population with one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and approximately 5% of the adult population is fully vaccinated.
“Countries that have begun to ease restrictions are countries where vaccinated of both doses have exceeded 40% or have reached 60% in terms of one dose.”
He added, “Guyana would be considering overtime whether we can open certain facilities, certain activities for people who are fully vaccinated; that is the underlying objective of this aggressive vaccination rollout.”
Dr Ramsammy said he expects that by July-August more than 60% of Guyana’s population will have their first dose and hopefully, by then, 30% would have received both doses.
On Thursday, it was revealed that a total of 161,886 individuals countrywide already received their first dose of one of the three COVID-19 vaccines distributed locally. Additionally, 18,526 individuals have received their first and second doses of the vaccines.
Guyana is using the Oxford-AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Sputnik V vaccines in its current vaccination campaign.