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DPI – The Government of Guyana on Thursday suspended air travel between Guyana and Brazil to reduce the possibility of transmission of the new variants of COVID-19 here.
“As we tighten up the land border, we also want to restrict flights coming from Brazil to Guyana and vice versa. All flights are now restricted because we want to know more about those variants,” Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony said during Friday’s COVID-19 update.
The Minister added: “I don’t think this is unexpected because we have said before that we were concerned that the variants circulating in Brazil and closer to the borders with Guyana. That concern was there and we started by tightening our land border and both on the Brazilian side and our side, we have increased the measures to stem people from going across the border.”
However, the Minister said Guyana officially opens the checkpoint on Thursdays to allow the exchange of goods and services, in keeping with strict COVID-19 measures.
“That is going to continue where we allow on Thursdays the exchange of goods and services, but we are going to tighten up the regime and we want to increase patrols along the border to deter people from crossing from one country to the other.”
This restriction will continue until an assessment is done and “based on those evaluations, then we will make those decisions as to when to reopen back the flights.”
Meanwhile, the Minister refuted allegations by the APNU+AFC opposition that the Government has had a lax approach to border closures, despite COVID-19.
“I think it’s clear and we have already taken a decision to tighten up the border control and now we have suspended flights from Brazil to Guyana,” he said.
Dr. Anthony added that he and his Ministry are open to discussions with the Opposition on additional steps that may be employed to ensure that Guyana is kept safe.