–non-essential travel in or out of Region Seven restricted
LOCAL authorities have restricted non-essential travel in or out of Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), as there continues to be a steady rise in the number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases within the region.
Available statistics show that Region Seven has so far recorded 471 cases of COVID-19, which is eight per cent of the total 5,406 cases recorded nationwide and the third highest of the ten administrative regions.
It is for this reason that authorities have decided to restrict non-essential travel in or out of this region from Tuesday, December 1. The restriction will last until December 31, 2020, unless otherwise adjusted by the Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony.
According to the new COVID-19 order listed among the gazetted emergency measures, travel shall only be permitted where it is connected to an essential service.
Additionally, gatherings shall not exceed five persons and the physical distance of six feet among persons shall apply to those gatherings.
According to the new measures, the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) shall ensure that the government buildings, landings and means of transportation and conveyances are sanitised. Where the Ministry of Health considers it necessary, it may test any person for COVID-19 and quarantine or isolate and treat any person.
“Any person who tests positive for Coronavirus shall be placed in controlled or any other forms of isolation or quarantine as approved by the Minister of Health,” said authorities in the emergency measures.
The joint services have been tasked with the enforcement of these measures. And, Minister Anthony, after an assessment of the epidemiological situation in region Seven, may impose any other measure to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hinterland regions have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic, with Regions One recording 848 cases; Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), 180 cases; and Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) with 379 cases, accounting for over 38 per cent of the total cases in Guyana.
It was reported recently that as part of efforts to improve and increase testing for COVID-19 in hinterland communities, local authorities have sourced 20,000 antigen tests, which will produce results within minutes.
As it is now, testing for COVID-19 is done centrally at the National Reference Laboratory in Georgetown. Authorities would first have to acquire a sample from a person suspected to have COVID-19, and then send the sample to Georgetown, where medical professionals will conduct a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, which takes hours to produce results.
Each hinterland community is already equipped with fixed sites for testing, but Minister Anthony said that, in cases where there is a high infection rate in a particular community, a mobile team will be deployed to conduct testing and contact-tracing.