Days after Guyana confirmed its first imported COVID-19 [coronavirus] case, Suriname has followed suit. The victim recorded by the Suriname health authority, this publication has learnt, is a 19-year-old person who recently travelled from Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The confirmed case is, moreover, being viewed as an imported one.
Evidenced by its actions, Suriname is not taking this development lightly. Already there have been announcements of closure to the country’s airspace, thereby restricting flights inward and outward bound. All other ports of entry, including one it shares with Guyana, have also been closed. Moreover, the Canawaima Ferry Service is currently inaccessible.
In a statement, the local Ministry of Public Infrastructure informed of this, pointing out that “The Management of the Guyana/Suriname Ferry Service wishes to advise the general public that its services will be suspended from Saturday, 14th March, 2020 until further notice”.
The decision, it was noted, was made by the Surinamese authorities to close all ports of entry after the country recorded its first case of the novel coronavirus yesterday.
Given the development, the management of the Guyana/Suriname Ferry Service has apologized for any inconvenience caused and has advised that persons seek further information by calling 339-2744.
Meanwhile, Guyana continues to put measures in place to deal with any additional case. The first case recorded here, like Suriname’s, was imported.
Fifty-two-year-old Ratna Baboolall, who reportedly arrived at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport from New York on Saturday, was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation on Tuesday from a Good Hope, East Coast Demerara residence with pneumonia-like symptoms. Pneumonia or difficulty breathing is one of the symptoms associated with the coronavirus. The virus can also manifest with symptoms including: a runny nose, sore throat, cough and fever.
More than a dozen family members of the local victim have been identified for quarantine and Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Karen Gordon-Boyle, confirmed yesterday that 41 Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation [GPHC] health workers have been quarantined.
The novel coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, China during the latter part of last year. The virus which has since expanded its reach to more than 50 countries has infected a little more than 145,000 persons and just over 5,400 have reportedly died as a result.
Even as the local health sector shares plans that should see its efforts to prevent an outbreak of the virus ramped-up, the Ministry of Public Health is urging all persons who believe they have been exposed, to make contact with the Ministry by calling telephone number 227-4986 [ext. 215] between the hours of 8am and 4:30pm and 624-6674 and 624-2819 between the hours of 8am and 4:30pm.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General António Guterres, by way of a statement, pointed out that “We are facing a health threat unlike any other in our lifetimes.”
According to him, too, preventing the further spread of COVID-19 is a shared responsibility for all. In this regard, Guterres said the UN, including the World Health Organization, is fully mobilized.
“As part of our human family, we are working 24/7 with governments, providing international guidance, helping the world take on this threat.”
“The social and economic fallout from the combination of the pandemic and slowing economies will affect most of us for some months. But the spread of the virus will peak. Our economies will recover. Until then, we must act together to slow the spread of the virus and look after each other,,” said Guterres as he assured, “This is a time for prudence, not panic. Science, not stigma. Facts, not fear.”
According to the UN Secretary General, even though the situation has been classified as a pandemic, it is one that can be controlled.
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