Guyana/ Brazil crossing: Goods to be transported on Thursdays, people can move on Fridays

- Health Minister can determine other days for opening

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Permission has been granted for the opening of the Guyana/ Brazil crossing at the Takutu Bridge in Lethem, Region Nine, on Fridays to accommodate the movement of people for any purpose.

This is according to the newly updated COVID-19 Emergency Measures that have been published in the Official Gazette. And, this adds to the preexisting arrangement between the two countries only allowed for essential goods and supplies to be brought into Guyana only on Thursdays.

Importantly, too, the updated measures state that notwithstanding the Thursday and Friday arrangements, the Minister of Health may determine “any other day and time” when this crossing may be opened.

The Health Minister can make this determination to allow the crossing to be opened “for any purpose”.

The Takutu Bridge has been closed for more than one year, prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Flights to and from Brazil were also halted. The Thursday arrangement was instituted to allow Region Nine to receive supplies from Brazil.

Even with that arrangement in place, authorities and residents in Region Nine (Upper Takutu – Upper Essequibo) had complained of dwindling economic activity and increased hardships. There was also an almost three-week protest which saw no goods being sent from Bonfim, in Brazil, to Lethem.

During a recent telephone interview with the News Room, however, Prime Minister, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips highlighted that the Guyana Government intends to implement a system that would allow for vaccinated and COVID-19 negative persons to utilise the Takutu River Bridge, linking Lethem in Guyana to Bonfim in Brazil for only one day per week.

The updated measures state that any person entering Guyana- whether by land, air or sea- must present a negative result from a PCR COVID-19 test done within 72 hours of their arrival in Guyana. Proof of vaccination- that is proof that an individual has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines approved by the Ministry of Health- is also required.

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