“If the situation in Roraima State [Boa vista, Brazil] continues to escalate to the point where it is definitely affecting our citizens in Lethem, we will be forced to consider a complete lockdown of the region..” – Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan
With Brazil’s COVID -19 cases escalating at an alarming rate, the authorities in Guyana are examining a number of stringent measures to protect its citizens, particularly those closest to its southern neighbour.
The most drastic is the possibility of a complete lockdown of Region Nine, Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan told Kaieteur News yesterday.
“If the situation in Roraima State [Boa vista, Brazil] continues to escalate to the point where it is definitely affecting our citizens in Lethem, we will be forced to consider a complete lockdown of the region.”
The lockdown, Ramjattan said, will have to be approved by the National COVID -19 Task Force (NCTF).
“We cannot afford to let what is happening in Brazil spill over here,” Ramjattan added as he noted that the NCTF continues to closely monitor the situation in Lethem.
“As you know, the Guyana /Brazil border in Lethem is a large area to traverse. The Police have been doing their best to enforce the closure of the borders but it is also a responsibility of the residents to be on the lookout for any developments happening on the ground, so that we can address it quickly and prevent a catastrophe from taking place.”
“The border has been closed. So for now we are not accepting any visitors from Brazil, Guyanese included. If a Guyanese want to come back, they must seek special approval from the taskforce. The situation in Brazil is too dire for us to have Guyanese or Brazilians frequenting the area.”
Conceding that the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Brazil has prompted serious concerns from Government, Ramjattan said that community policing groups have been placed on the alert for any suspicious non-nationals in the area.
More police ranks have also been approved for deployment to Region Nine.
The additional ranks will help to further reinforce security at the Brazil/ Lethem border closure.
Asked whether the army is being considered, Ramjattan noted: “A joint services operation has not been ruled out but at this juncture we have not considered the use of army officers. And since the Guyana Defence Force does not fall under my ambit, the army has to be brought in via a Presidential edict and that is a matter that must be discussed at the level of NCTF.”
Ramjattan said nonetheless that the NCTF has been concerned about possible infiltration of COVID cases from Region Nine to the other regions, particularly Regions four and ten.
“We know a single positive case coming from Lethem to Linden or Georgetown can be disastrous for us.
“So, what we have done is set up a check point at the main entry/exit point for traffic from Lethem.
“The occupants of all minibuses and other vehicles coming out or going into Lethem have to undergo thorough screening at the checkpoints, which include the checking of their temperature,” Ramjattan disclosed.
Meanwhile, international news sources state that Brazil has overtaken the countries of Europe to become one of the worst affected globally – with more than 20,000 deaths from COVID-19 and over 310,000 confirmed infections as of May 22.
Brazilian news sources have reported a growing number of COVID-19 cases in the Roraima State, which is close to Lethem.
Guyana has so far recorded one positive case in Lethem which was imported from Bon Fim, Brazil.
Jul 05, 2020Executives and members of the Georgetown Softball Cricket League Incorporated (GSCL) express their grief at the sudden passing of a true cricket all-rounder Anil Persaud. At the time of his sudden...
The hot question at this moment is what type of attacks we will see on the Secretary-General (SG) of CARICOM, Mr. Irwin La... more
The government should not be selling any lands. It has long gone beyond being a caretaker administration and is merely in... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders There have been unhelpful and destructive attacks by leading members and zealous supporters of the... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]