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The A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), on Friday, laid out an 8-point plan with the hope that the Government would utilise it to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to spiral out of control here.
As part of the plan, the Coalition wants the Government to reverse the decision to restrict PCR testing among the populace and begin the process of getting the new test kits that are able to distinguish between Flu and COVID-19.
In presenting the coalition’s position during a press conference on Friday, APNU+AFC Member of Parliament, Ganesh Mahipaul opined that the Health Ministry’s decision to restrict persons from getting the PCR COVID-19 test at public health facilities would result in a reduction in reporting of the number of positive cases seen daily. “The public will no longer be in receipt of the true spread of COVID- 19 in the nation,” he posited.
MP Mahipaul said the rapid spread of the Coronavirus is a direct result of the Government’s incompetence and total disregard for the health and safety of citizens.
“Upon learning that the Omicron variant was in Brazil and the Caribbean, no efforts were made to prevent its entry into Guyana. The Brazil to Guyana crossing remains open with little to no COVID-19 measures in place,” he pointed out.
He said it is unfortunate that no efforts were made to reduce or stop flights from countries that were recording high numbers of positive cases due to the Omicron variant. “Instead what we heard from the Health Minister was that systems will be put in place to send samples for testing as numbers increase; a clear indication that no plan was in place to deal with the expected. We still do not know if and when samples were sent for testing to confirm which variants are in Guyana,” MP Mahipaul reasoned.
He also expressed disappointment that during the Festive Season, President Irfaan Ali hosted a concert at the Christmas Village while the COVID-19 Task Force granted permission for a number of events to be held.
“The COVID-19 numbers are drastically out of control further exposing the PPP’s incompetence. The fact is this administration has responded to the Omicron variant as if it is nothing to worry about, causing citizens to focus less on protocols and more on gathering in large crowds and sporting during the holidays, causing the rapid spread and increase in deaths,” he said.
It was pointed out that last October, Guyana recorded 129 deaths, in November and December, 69 and 55 deaths respectively. He noted that as of Thursday, 56 deaths were recorded for January.
To reduce the spread, the coalition said in addition to the reversal of the decision to restrict CPR testing, the Health Ministry should set up additional testing sites in the 10 Administrative Regions in an effort to reduce the crowds at the current facilities.
Instead of distributing medical clearance in person, the APNU+AFC is recommending that the clearance be issued via email. It is also calling for the temporarily closure of schools to suppress the spread of the virus.
MP Mahipaul submitted that the time should be used “to create a more robust approach to keeping teachers and students safe. This should include; proper seating arrangements in classes, take home test kits for weekly testing of students, distribution of the best masks necessary to reduce the circulation of COVID-19, proper sanitization and distribution of vitamin supplements among others.”
Additionally, it proposes the rotation of public service staff to allow for one-third of them to be on duty at any one time; the enforcement of the mandatory wearing of masks in public; sanitization of public transportations after every round trip and the return to and enforcement of the 6pm Curfew in an effort to arrest the current situation
“At this point we must do all we can to avert a major collapse of our public healthcare system. The APNU+AFC Coalition is encouraging our fellow citizens to get vaccinated, continue to wear your mask, sanitize and wash your hands, social distance, eat as healthy as possible and resist the urge to attend super spreader events,” MP Mahipaul said.