– awareness messages being translated for migrant, indigenous populations
While Guyana’s cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) remain at five, the Ministry of Public Health has a ‘person of interest’ on its radar.
This was disclosed by Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence, during a live Facebook presentation yesterday. The Minister did not detail the specific characteristics of a ‘person of interest’ but she revealed that “at one point we did have seven persons who were of interest to us.”
With six less persons to monitor, the Minister said that the national response to the novel coronavirus has warranted nine persons be placed in mandatory quarantine and an additional four in mandatory isolation.
She disclosed too that all persons in quarantine and isolation will be receiving psychosocial services support from the Public Health Ministry’s Mental Health Unit.
The disease, which emerged in Wuhan, China in December of last year, has since made its way into more than 190 countries with the total number of infected persons surpassing 400,000. Of the total number of persons infected with the virus just over 18,000 have died, according to the World Health Organisation [WHO].
Currently the Ministry’s response is premised on eight pillars set out by the WHO. And according to Minister Lawrence, the Health Emergency Operations Centre [HEOC], set up in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, is tasked with implementing the Ministry’s national strategic plan. The HEOC, the Minister informed, is tasked with meeting every 48 hours for updates. This, she explained, is in an effort to monitor the disease situation with a view of mitigating its spread.
The Minister sought to underscore too that “there is an adequate supply of testing kits and PPEs [personal protective equipment] for our medical personnel” and “continuous education of the public through various media messages is ongoing”.
In the latter regard, Lawrence said that the Ministry has sought to translate its messages in the four indigenous dialects of Wapichan, Makushi, Akawaio and Patamona.
Also, the Minister informed that “We are currently working on the messages for persons living with disabilities and through some of our international partners” and “we are working on translation into languages for our migrant population”.
Regarding its multi-sectoral and multi-partner coordination, the Minister said that her Ministry intends to continue to work closely with the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation [PAHO/WHO], the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund [UNICEF], the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA], and members of the Diaspora.
Additionally, the Minister said that locally, her Ministry has been working with the Rotary Club, which has been doing several sanitation tasks.
Other measures that the Ministry has adopted from WHO to combat this disease include: risk communication and community activities; surveillance; rapid response teams and case investigations; points of entry; the national reference laboratory; infection prevention and control; case management and operational support and logistics.
Aside from its technical efforts, the Minister said that social distancing and hygienic practices are continually being encouraged to ensure that “we can beat COVID-19”.
It is expected that the local Health Ministry will provide another update on the local COVID-19 situation today.
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