By Pat Dial
Kaieteur News – We had intended to have had this column to speak no further on the COVID-19 pandemic since so much had already been written about it. When, however, we saw the report of how Kwebanna village and other interior communities were the victims of onslaughts of the virus and how the inhabitants felt that they could not contain it, it rang an alarm bell.
Kwebanna is an Amerindian community of less than 1,000 persons, and with similar communities at Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Potaro- Siparuni and Upper-Takutu- Upper Essequibo, they have roughly 40% of the positive COVID-19 cases in Guyana though their population is a fraction of the towns and coastal areas.
The COVID-19 problem at Kwebanna could be regarded as a microcosm of what obtains in other interior areas. The onslaught on the village seemed out of control and the Toshao Paul Pierre realized this. He tried to have the villagers conform to the safety precautions of wearing of masks, hand-washing and distancing but they were never disciplined enough to follow such precautions at all times. Toshao Paul Pierre felt that his only option was to have a lockdown. The situation was a challenge which is facing every other hinterland community.
Toshao Paul Pierre took up the gauntlet: His community is a close-knit one like all interior communities and it was difficult to establish the new culture of “distancing” and in any case they seldom would follow established safety guidelines.
But something had to be done. In the Toshao’s words: “Well, due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the village and based on the advice of the regional administration, health Sector and the Police, we have decided to lockdown the village so that we could get control over the situation . . . this is the only way we can get some control. . . Now over the next 14 days, no one will be allowed in or out of the village, unless authorized by relevant authorities. These measures will be supervised and implemented by the regional authorities and police”.
The Toshao pointed out that the lockdown will cause economic hardship to his Kwebanna community: “We do have a lot of lumber so the lockdown will affect us, We have a sawmill there and especially this time leading up to Christmas, we would get a lot of orders from persons in Moruca and Kaituma but in the circumstances the sawmill would not be working . . . Farmers will, however, continue to operate their farms but will only be allowed to move between farms and their homes”.
The Toshao said that they would not starve since food aid for the village is being mobilized by the regional administration, Amerindian Peoples Association and other agencies.
The Ministry of Health is dealing with the pandemic in a different way than in the towns and coastal regions. They use antigen tests where results are obtained in 45 minutes.
Each hinterland community is equipped with fixed sites for testing but if there is a high infection rate in any community, a mobile team is deployed to conduct testing and contact-tracing.
It is sometimes difficult to track people in these areas since they do not have telephones or addresses or any other contact information.
Help from the police and Toshaos are sought to locate such infected persons and have them isolated.
Addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in the interior could, therefore, be different from in the city and coastal areas.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had been issuing valuable advisories from time to time. In one of their early advisories, it was pointed out that most people who become sick with COVID-19 experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment.
Some 81% of those who contract COVID-19 will have mild symptoms while 14% will have severe symptoms and 5% will need intensive care.
The Ministry of Health has issued is own public notification: “Anyone who displays any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19, or needs any additional information, can contact the COVID-19 Emergency at telephone numbers – 231 1166; 226 7480; or 624 6674 immediately, or visit the Ministry’s website at www. health.gov.gy
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
+ Add to contacts
Jan 19, 2022Kaieteur News – It was announced yesterday at a press conference at the National Racquet Centre on Woolford Avenue, Georgetown, that six Guyanese will be among the 529 athletes from 60...
Jan 19, 2022
Jan 19, 2022
Jan 19, 2022
Jan 19, 2022
Jan 18, 2022
Freddie kissoon column Wednesday, January 19, 2022 Kaieteur News – I said to my wife in the kitchen last week that... more
Kaieteur News – How does one lift the level of discourse about historical revisionism without resorting to attacks... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – By 2030, it is more than likely that the eight independent Commonwealth Caribbean... 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]