May 28, 2020 News
– have option of staying at state facilities or hotel
Authorities have toughened up conditions for Guyanese stranded abroad and who are intending to seek permission to return in a COVID-19 lockdown country.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a released application form said that Guyanese must agree to be quarantined for two weeks even if they have taken a test, which says they are negative for COVID-19.
The Ministry has designated Foreign Service Officers Johnson and Watson to handle the requests.
The National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) says that applicants must answer questions, including when they left Guyana and the purpose; whether they have been tested and whether they would have come into contact with anyone who was positive.
The applicants would also have to answer whether they are displaying symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, chills, headache, muscle ache, diarrhoea and fatigue.
They would have to acknowledge and accept that they are required to undergo at least 14 days of
quarantine even if they have been tested negative in a PCR test.
The applicant must agree to fully cooperate with the facilitator, caretaker, health care professional or other Ministry of Public Health officials who are responsible for his/her well-being during quarantine.
There will be no visitors but the quarantined persons can receive items from family or friends via the Civil Defence Commission.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry also made it clear that quarantined persons will have to agree to wear protective clothing if asked.
Last week, the Task Force approved the return of 300 Guyanese stranded around the globe to return home.
During a special meeting to consider the applications of various groups of Guyanese stranded overseas as a result of COVID-19 emergency measures, the Task Force said that within the controlled re-entry policy, it has approved the return of approximately 300 Guyanese nationals.
It was disclosed that approved persons would have been registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs via the country’s embassies, High Commissions and Honorary Consuls.
The approval targets Guyanese nationals in Trinidad and Tobago, New York, New Jersey, Florida and other states in the United States of America also in other countries.
Scores of Guyanese were left stranded as authorities in Guyana, back in March, gave mere hours’ notice to close the borders and country’s airports as part of the measures to fight COVID-19 measures.
There have been increasing calls for Government to intervene to bring the persons back.
However, there has been deep worry over the facilities and cost in Guyana.
According to the Task Force last week, the approval for the return of the 300 persons is strictly subjected to a number of conditions.
It was made clear that the approval is not applicable, at this time, to Guyanese nationals who are resident in other countries.
The conditions will affect Guyanese nationals who are in possession of a valid Guyanese passport.
The Task Force noted too that the Immigration Department of Guyana will also accept any passenger whose Guyanese passport expired within six months prior to arrival.
However, returning persons will have to fulfill a number of health requirements.
They will have to provide results of COVID-19 tests (PCR with results in English language) at least 48 hours prior to their arrival in Guyana.
The Task Force said that the applicants or their employers will have to cover all costs for their return, with only entry by air allowed.
“The NCTF re-iterates that no person who tests positive for COVID-19 will be permitted entry into Guyana and that all arriving passengers must undergo the PCR tests and submit the results (which must be in English) at least 48 hours prior to their arrival in Guyana.”
Persons who qualify to return to Guyana under this approval are asked to make urgent contact with their nearest Guyanese diplomatic mission and complete the necessary paperwork and submit the relevant documents and information.
It was also made clear that the Guyana’s airspace remains closed and that the flight applications for each arriving flight related to this approval of the return of the approximately 300 stranded Guyanese must be submitted, by the airline or operator, to the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority for approval.
NCTF said it anticipates that these persons will return to Guyana over the course of the next two weeks.
Earlier last week, several stranded Guyanese banded together to appeal to the Task Force to allow them to return.
They had formed a group, collectively lobbying to the NCTF to get approval to be re-united with their families.
Guyana has been approving special flights especially to residents from Trinidad, US, Canada and Britain for citizens who were stranded here.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Health has indicated that it is open to have persons exercise their options of being quarantined in a State facility or private one.
Two hotels- Baracara Hotel and Brandsville Apartments have been named.
The costs at the private facilities will be borne by the persons. There are costs of $8,000 per night at Baracara and $15,000 at Brandsville. Food is separate.
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