Omicron not in Guyana but will reach here eventually – Health Minister

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Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony Friday said he has no reason to believe that the more transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 was in Guyana but warned that it will reach here eventually.

The Health Minister admitted that no samples have been sent for testing of the new variant but he reasoned that perhaps the new strain of the virus is not in this country because there has been no rapid increase in COVID-19 infections recently.

“If the Omicron is in Guyana, we will see a rapid increase in cases. In countries where it is circulating, cases double every 1 – 3 days. We have not seen that as yet, so from an epidemiological point of view, Omicron is not in Guyana,” Dr. Anhtony said during his daily update on Friday.

Notwithstanding, the Health Minister said with the variant in more than 80 countries worldwide, Guyana would not be spared.

“Given the way it is spreading it would get to Guyana,” he added assuring that there were mechanisms in place when cases are suspected.

Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony (Photo: Aubrey Odle)

That mechanism includes taking samples and sending them to a lab to do sequencing. Guyana has been sending samples to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad for testing.

“We have those arrangements in place… at this point in time, we don’t feel like we have Omicron.”

Meanwhile, Dr Anthony said there are still cases of the Delta variant which have been contributing to high hospitalisation numbers due to severe cases.

To this end, he encouraged those already vaccinated to get their booster jabs and for those still unvaccinated to be inoculated against the virus.

Some 10, 650 persons have taken boosters since the programme started.

“Again, we have to take precautions of getting vaccinated, too many persons are still not vaccinated,” Dr. Anthony said during his appeal.

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