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By Akeasha Boodie
Officials in Santa Rosa, a village in Moruca, Region One (Barima-Waini) have implemented a 14-day lockdown in the community in light of the increasing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the area.
Toshao of Moruca, Wuanita Philips said residents in the area have presented a carefree attitude towards the pandemic and the lockdown is aimed at limiting their movement, which has been contributing to the spread of the virus.
“We want to keep people in because there are some who are not adhering to the rules and they’re not wearing face masks. […] They’re just walking around, breaking the curfew and so on. So, we want to see if we can ask people to stay in for two weeks more,” the Toshao explained.
During the lockdown, vending is permitted from 8am-11am on Mondays-Fridays and residents will be allowed to shop for necessities during that period. Facemasks in public spaces will be compulsory at all times and the 6pm-6am curfew will be in full effect.
Further, one cargo boat will be allowed during the lockdown to distribute hampers to residents. Residents have been assisted with hampers during the pandemic from the Amerindian People’s Association (APA) and other donors including the Santa Rosa Family and Friends organisation.
“They helped us with about three-hundred hampers and we have the Santa Rosa Family and Friends who are working very hard to help us as well. They have been sending in hampers and they will be sending more this weekend,” she explained.
On Friday, the Civil Defence Commission also handed over a large number of food hampers to the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs to be distributed to vulnerable groups in the community.
Toshao, Philips also disclosed that there will be a large police presence to ensure residents are adhering to the social distancing guideline and the curfew. At at least ten police officers are expected to be present during the two-week lockdown.
Santa Rosa is one of the largest Amerindian villages in the country and accounts for 74 of 76 cases in Moruca, Region One. Region One has the second largest number of COVID-19 cases in Guyana.