Sep 05, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Former Minister within the Ministry of Health, now current A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Member of Parliament, Dr. Karen Cummings, is calling on the government to implement stricter guidelines to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Guyana.
Speaking at a recent virtual press briefing held by the APNU+AFC on Thursday, Dr. Cummings warned that the recently updated COVID-19 emergency measures will only put Guyanese at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19.
The updated measures have paved way for casinos, betting shops and cinemas to operate at a capacity of 60 percent. The entertainment hubs were previously allowed to operate only at a 40 percent capacity.
In addition to that, the restriction for concession stands at cinemas has been removed, food entities, buffet dining are no longer prohibited and even the capacity per table has been increased from four to no more than six for restaurants. This comes even as cases of the deadly disease are being recorded in the hundreds almost daily.
As such, Dr Cummings noted that when measured against the country’s rapidly rising COVID-19 statistics, “one can only assert that the Ministry of Health and its team should take a step back.”
“One would have thought that good sense would have prevailed by now, and they would do some introspection and [assess] the gaps…but here we are, there is an uptick in cases, it is skyrocketing, the deaths and confirmed cases and home isolation as well with no proper guidelines…,” Dr. Cummings said.
She said with the Health Ministry’s continued use of the updated guideline in the face of rising cases, Guyana is looking at a recipe for disaster.
Dr. Cummings noted too that while the World Health Organisation’s Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has underscored the importance of working collectively to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, “this Government continues to act unilaterally as it makes pertinent decisions that involve the Guyanese people.”
The former Health Minister held too that the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) has failed to prevent the increasing spread of the virus and inequities in healthcare delivery.
“…The Task Force does not understand that there is a direct relationship between a person’s health and social economic circumstance. Vaccines alone cannot combat the disease, noting that there needs to be a holistic approach.” Dr. Cummings said.
Further, the former Health Minister said while vaccines are important, powerful and effective public health tools in the fight against COVID-19, the Government has not done enough awareness to inform the public on the efficacy and safety of the available vaccines here in Guyana.
“The Government and the Ministry of Health should seek to educate the public about the vaccines and encourage voluntary participation without threats. There must be ongoing communication to ensure comfort…,” Dr. Cummings urged.
Presently, the country has over 2,000 active COVID-19 cases, of which 183 are new. As of yesterday, there were four new deaths and 35 persons were in the COVID-19 ICU.
In total, Guyana has had 26,295 confirmed cases of the disease of which 640 persons have died.
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