If more people take jabs, gov’t may remove more COVID restrictions – Health Minister
Exactly one year after Guyana began its vaccination programme, the government relaxed the National COVID-19 curfew that was in place since March 2020.
On Monday, the Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony revealed that if more people get vaccinated, the government may remove other measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
Some of these measures include mandatory wearing of a facemask in public spaces, social distancing, presenting a negative COVID test to enter the country and buildings; the hosting of parties and no more than 10 people gathered at one place.
“As vaccination increases and persons take their booster doses, the government will consider removing the other measures in place,” Dr Anthony revealed during his daily COVID-19 update on Monday.
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 offers a layer of protection against the dreaded virus; it may prevent severe symptoms and persons from being hospitalised.
“Lifting [the] curfew does not mean that the other measures are lifted, so you have to do mask-wearing, you have to still keep social distancing, you have to sanitise.
“I would urge people that not because we lifted the curfew that they would return to this level of normalcy, we still have to take the precaution,” Dr Anthony said.
Given that some States in the US and countries in Europe have begun rolling back on COVID measures, Dr Anthony explained that their population is about 90 per cent vaccinated.
“We are not there as yet and if we want to get close to that number, we have the vaccines available but people would have to make themselves available so we can immunise them and make sure that they are protected.”
To date, a total of 428, 716 (83.6 per cent) of the adult population received a first dose vaccine; 321, 948 (62.8 per cent) received their second dose vaccine. For the campaign in the 12 to 17 population, 33, 129 (45.4 per cent) received a second dose and 23, 705 (32.5 per cent) received their second dose.
Dr Anthony said that the vaccine rollout in children continues to be challenging for the government. This is due to the parental consent requirement before the vaccine is administered. But the Health Ministry will soon be collaborating with the Education Ministry to start a special vaccination programme for children.
“Over the next couple of weeks we will be intensifying our efforts with the Ministry of Education in the hope we can take up these numbers,” Dr Anthony said.
In addition to vaccination in children, the government will also be working to increase its booster doses which is currently at 46, 217.
“But again, this is relatively low so we have to keep encouraging persons to come out and get their booster doses.”
There are currently 1, 841 active COVID cases with 66 persons hospitalised across the country of which 50 are at the Infectious Diseases Hospital and nine patients in the Intensive Care Unit.