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Guyanese have to admit the more than 23, 500 persons infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and more 570 deaths is not good news. This is a crisis. From all appearances the pandemic is not under control. There is growing concern the government is not doing enough, including working in an inclusionary manner, to better control the virus.
The mixed messages being sent by the government is not making the situation better. Neither would Guyana be able to effectively manage the virus when all are not involved or feel their input matter. Managing the virus is not a one size fits all and there are numerous examples around the world. In the Information Age, where Guyanese here have the opportunity to observe how other countries and governments are managing the virus, Guyana is light years behind.
Another problem is alternative or dissenting opinions are not valued or time taken to examine whether such could be useful. If opinions and advice are not from the government or those they see favourably they are not likely to pay attention. The recent imposition of a vaccination mandate for public sector workers, minibus and hire car drivers, and persons accessing services in the government agencies has attracted condemnation and protest actions. The government has since delayed the mandate to take effect in another two weeks, but has left in place the mandate for persons being vaccinated or having to show a negative COVID19 test when accessing government agencies.
A virus that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has ruled a pandemic and has consistently preached for a collective approach to combat, the Government of Guyana continues to prefer a solo approach. This publication and others have repeatedly appealed for the WHO approach. Without fear of contradiction the collective approach makes sense. It is a critical aspect of public health management and has proven to be the only way to curtail and eliminate a pandemic. The support and input of all must be valued.
Statistical data revealed that from March to July 2020 Guyana had 413 cases and 40 deaths. A year into the People’s Progressive Party/Civic government the cases have ballooned to more 23, 600 infected cases and 570 deaths. The Government cannot ignore these astronomical figures, equally as they cannot ignore their strategy is not working. This publication does not pretend to have the answers but does know including all Guyanese in a crisis management strategy that they could accept should not be ignored.