Masakenari hard hit by COVID

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…more than a dozen test positive; one die

By Alva Solomon  

Reports are that more than two dozen Wai Wai residents of the remote village of Masakenari in the Deep South Rupununi have tested positive for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Village Voice News understands that some 30 persons from the village , whose population lies in the vicinity of 200, were tested over the weekend as a spike in the cases has seen medical officials being scurried into the area in recent days. The tests returned positive.

Masakenari is located within the Kanashen Protected area. The village lies 15 miles from the Brazilian state of Amazonias. Residents previously resided at Gunns Strip, a more southerly location and it takes almost one week for residents to reach the more populated village of Aishalton.

A section of the village of Masakenari  ( Orson Smith photo)

It was noted by medical personnel at Aishalton on Sunday that a male resident of Masakenari passed away on Saturday. Late on Sunday the Ministry of Health confirmed that a 60-year old man from Region Nine died from complications attributed to the COVID virus.

Although the village is remote , it was noted by residents of Masakenari that persons have been transiting the area from neighbouring Brazil, the COVID hotspot of South America.

Residents reported that miners have been passing through the area hassle free and there are reports that residents of the connecting village Parabara have also experienced symptoms of the pandemic.

The Village Voice News understands that a medical team was dispatched to Masakenari last week to undertake a COVID vaccination exercise.

Reports from Lethem are that the medical team was stranded in the area late last week, given the remoteness of the area and the inability of aircraft to land there in time for their return trip. Several medical test kits which were taken to the area were expected to be discarded, a medical personnel noted.

Guyana has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases and an alarmingly high number of deaths. To date the precautionary measures implemented by the authorities to tackle the spread of the virus appears ineffective since the death toll has climbed rapidly to 325.

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