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On October 1, 2021, many people made use of the Government of Guyana’s decision to reopen the Guyana-Brazil border at Lethem-Bonfim once per week to citizens of both sides wishing to travel.
The decision comes after a period of impasse as Brazilian traders blocked the border on grounds of alleged discrimination contending that Brazilians were not allowed to cross into Lethem to do business but their Guyanese counterparts could once per week.
In a brief interview, Mayor of Lethem, John Macedo told the Village Voice News that persons on both sides lobbied for a mutually suitable arrangement and many are pleased with the recent decision.
According to the COVID-19 Emergency Measures, effective October 1, 2021, it remains that the Lethem Crossing shall be closed except on Thursdays to facilitate the crossing of essential goods and supplies. However, the addition has been made that, on Fridays, the Government of Guyana will allow persons to cross for any purpose.
It was stated that notwithstanding this decision, the Minister of Health may determine any other day and time when the Crossing may be opened for any purpose.
“This was lobbied for based on the residents of Lethem and Bonfim. Bomfim has a population of 10,000 of which 4,000 are Guyanese. They’re happy to have the option to come over in a controlled manner as the gazetted Order stipulates,” Mayor Macedo said.
“When this is completed the heads and everyone involved in it will sit and discuss the efficiencies and deficiencies that exist and ways to fix it. I expect that everything will go according to the gazetted Order.”
To enter Guyana through the aforementioned border, persons must present a vaccination card or a negative PCR test taken within seven days. The vehicles are also being sprayed to ward off the virus and temperature checks are being made.
Present at Port Health to assist are representatives of the Regional Task Force, staff of the Region’s Agriculture Department and a health team that is taking record of the health information of persons entering.
To date, Brazil has registered over 590,000 coronavirus deaths and some 21.2 million total confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic there. On September 19, there were as many as 935 COVID-19 deaths recorded and 150,106 additional cases. There are still no flights allowed in Guyana from Brazil.