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The numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths appear to be rising. This trend has become increasingly obvious in the last two weeks or so. To date, though, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) regime has not commented on, or even acknowledged the evident fact.
Overall, to date, there have been 72,261 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Guyana resulting in 1,289 deaths. There was a significant decline in the numbers around September of last year, however, there has been a sharp resurgence in the last two weeks.
Guyanese will recall that the PPP administration had — in early October 2022 — removed all COVID–19 containment restrictions including the mandate regarding vaccination for arriving travellers. As things stand, there are no containment or mitigation restrictions or measures.
Meanwhile the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) are all expressing concern about a sub-variant of the Omicron strain of the virus. The sub-variant is named XXB. 1. 5.
What is XBB.1.5?
It is yet another offshoot of the globally dominant Omicron variant. Omicron has outperformed the earlier Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta coronavirus variants since emerging in late 2021.
Omicron has also given rise to many more contagious sub-variants.
The sub-variant has appeared in numerous territories including the UK and the US where it is now the dominant strain.
The WHO reports the following:
“Over 40% of COVID-19 cases in the United States are thought to be caused by XBB.1.5, making it the dominant strain. At the beginning of December, it accounted for only 4% of cases, so it has quickly overtaken other versions of Omicron. COVID-19 hospital admissions have been rising in recent weeks across the US, and the government has restarted its free testing programme.”
Guyanese will be aware that huge numbers of people arrive here or pass through Guyana every day.
Regarding the UK, the WHO report says the following:
“Figures suggest that one in 25 Covid cases in the UK were XBB.1.5.”
Travel between the UK and Guyana is also frequent and routine.
Given the facts, Guyanese with whom this publication has spoken — including a medical doctor — have expressed an interest in learning what is the PPP regime’s position on the matter.