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– 532 new cases in three weeks
Guyana COVID-19 cases have moved from 955 to 1029 on Monday as the country surpasses the 1000 mark and citizens have begun to run scared about as authorities seem to be losing control over the pandemic.
Since early August Covid-19 cases have skyrocketed and last week there were some eight deaths. Two sitting government ministers have also been tested positive for the virus in recent weeks. On Monday the Ministry of Health reported that there were 74 new infections. The new government has tried to tie the increase in cases to the previous administration with Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony saying over the weekend that hundreds of cases had gone undetected for months. He said that the fact that the PPP/C government has ordered mass testing to be conducted in all regions of Guyana is testament to this. Since August 4, there have been 532 new cases. Anthony said that he expects more new cases to be confirmed in days to come. “It is going to go up more because as we are increasing the number of tests, we are doing so we are going to see more positives… In the past, testing was very restricted, there were very strict criteria to do the test and therefore you would have had to be displaying symptoms of COVID before you got a test.”
The Minister noted however that a large percentage of persons are asymptomatic. “When we looked at what is happening in other parts of the world, lots of people are asymptomatic… they are unaware because they have no signs or symptoms,” the Minister noted.
Added to this, he noted that previously less testing was done because there were limited numbers of test kits. The administration upon assuming office has managed to garner test kits from various donor agencies countries and organisations to further Guyana’s push to identify and contain the spread of COVID-19. With this huge demand for more tests, the Ministry is working assiduously to build testing capacity and have more test samples processed daily. Dr. Anthony said more private facilities along with another government facility (offsite NPHRL) will be supporting the National Public Health Reference Laboratory in processing the high number of persons needing tests.
Meanwhile, test samples are being collected countrywide, something Minister Anthony said was not happening before. He mentioned that even in Regions Five and Six which were previously deemed COVID- free are now seeing scores of persons coming forward to have tests done. Meanwhile, the facilities established in Region Four namely at Herstelling, Paradise, Georgetown, along with the mobile units have seen as much as 400+ having samples taken to be processed.