May 03, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – As the nation braces itself to observe another month of rising COVID-19 cases, April officially went down as the deadliest month thus far with the virus. In spite of this, the government has not tightened the existing guidelines set to protect citizens.
Kaieteur News has noted that April alone saw a total of 65 deaths, surpassing October 2020 which had 46 deaths and was previously regarded as the deadliest month since the start of the pandemic last March. April also saw a daily average of two fatalities and a high influx of infections. In fact, the highest number of daily infections was also recorded in April. On April 23, the Health Ministry had reported that Guyana recorded 214 new infections.
Yesterday, the Health Ministry reported another death, a 75-year-old female from Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) who died while receiving treatment at a medical facility. Her death brings the country’s total number of COVID-19 fatalities to 299 and indicates that Guyana will soon touch the benchmark of 300. It also reported 114 new infections via the daily dashboard update, which increases the case toll to 13,518. The dashboard also shows that 14 patients are in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit, another 15 in institutional quarantine, 95 in institutional isolation and a whopping 1,727 in home isolation.
With the high number of infections recorded in April, hospitalisations were also increased, putting a further strain on the public health system.
Cognisant of the ravaging effects of the pandemic currently being experienced in Guyana and the region; citizens, organisations and political parties had called for more stringent measures to be implemented in hopes of treating the situation before it spirals out of control.
Kaieteur News would have reported on the COVID-19 mitigation plan that was published by The Citizenship Initiative, where it called on the government to implement stricter measures and adjust some of the regulations that were already in place. This included a return to the 06:00 pm to 06:00 am curfew, harsher fines for COVID-19 law breaches and complete lockdowns on non-essential activities on weekends.
Further to that, the Pan-American Health Organisation’s Director, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, recently acknowledged that many countries in the Region have moved to tightened public health measures by extending curfews, limiting re-openings and imposing new stay-at-home orders, adding that based on how infections are surging “this is exactly what needs to happen.”
Nevertheless, with the Official Gazette of COVID-19 measures published for the month of May, the government has ignored these calls and retained all measures from last month, making no changes that may potentially prevent what happened in April from reoccurring. Some of the measures retained include the 10:30 pm to 04:00 am curfew, and bars and restaurants still being permitted to operate, as well as other establishments.
Over the past few months, health officials would have been stating that the government is trying to balance sustaining the economy and maintaining public health. But many are of the view that too much emphasis is being placed on the private business sector and not the pandemic at hand.
This newspaper had asked a fundamental question and will ask it again… will the government only take action when this pandemic escalates beyond their control? Why not ramp up the measures and nip it in the bud while there is still a chance?
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