Opposition urges greater enforcement of Covid measures

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…says time is now for govt to consult with stakeholders on plan to combat virus

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spiral out of control, the Leader of the Opposition (ag), Roysdale Forde, S.C has intensified calls for the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration to facilitate an emergency stakeholders’ forum to chart a prudent and responsible National COVID-19 Management Plan.

This, Forde said, is necessary to win the battle against the pandemic, which is quickly deteriorating.

“The APNU+AFC Coalition continues to be concerned with the approach being taken by the PPP/C Regime as our country seeks to grapple with the uncontrolled spread of the COVID-19 virus. We continue to emphasize that a holistic approach is required to bolster our chances of successfully grappling with the pandemic,” the acting Opposition Leader said in a statement on Thursday.

He said the coalition remains concerned that not enough attention is being paid to the enforcement of preventative measures such as the wearing of masks, social distancing, avoiding crowded spaces, washing of hands and sanitizing.

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The Opposition Member of Parliament said while the Government has instituted rigid vaccination programme, there appears to be no exemption system in place for persons, who because of existing medical conditions, are unable to take a COVID-19 vaccine.

“The science has established that transmitting and contracting of the virus is possible irrespective of vaccination status. It is therefore a common sense approach that testing should be done across the board in order to be able to identify and contain the spread of the virus.

Testing should therefore be made available at every health institution across the country, free of charge,” Forde reasoned.

Further, he expressed concern that not enough screening is being done before the COVID-19 vaccine is administered to adolescents.

“What has become clear from the various incidents of children falling seriously ill after taking the vaccine, much to the distress of parents, is that there needs to be a thorough pre-screening procedure to determine the existence of comorbidities that can provoke contraindications in our children. Very little attention if any is being paid to the importance of nutrition and building of the immune system to help the body naturally combat infections,” he said.

The need for greater awareness and a national consultation on these matters were also underscored. The acting Opposition Leader said the “highhanded, dictatorial approach being adopted by the PPP/C regime continues to erode public trust resulting in increased vaccine hesitancy.”

“These issues combined with the exponential increase in the cost of living, the increase in crime and the high rate of unemployment, insufficient supply of WHO approved vaccines, the poor and deteriorating healthcare, lack of Personal Protective Equipment, all combine to create a very unstable environment,” he added.

Forde said the need for a consultative approach to tackle the pandemic, cannot be ignored by the PPP/C Government. His calls come even as the hundreds of teachers backed by the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) have been protesting the Ministry of Education’s Brickdam Office over the gazetted COVID-19 orders, which require all citizens including teachers to be vaccinated against the virus in an effort to access public buildings including schools. Unvaccinated teachers are required to produce a negative COVID-19 PCR Test – which comes at a hefty cost but a cost the teachers are not prepared to bear.



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