The restrictions on non-essential travel in and out of Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) that were prompted by a spike in the number of cases of COVID-19 have been lifted, according to the newly-gazetted COVID-19 orders.
Paragraph seven of the previous COVID-19 measures, which lasted from December 1 until December 31, indicated that travel in and out of this region was only permitted where it is connected to an essential service. Local COVID-19 statistics, then, showed that the region had 471 positive cases, which is eight per cent of the total 5,406 cases recorded nationwide and the third highest of the 10 administrative regions.
On December 31, the last day of the travel restrictions for Region Seven, the region had a total of 537 positive cases out of the 6,332 cases nationwide. And the newly-gazetted orders, which take effect from today (January 1) until January 31, 2021, did not include a paragraph or section specific to Region Seven, as it did previously. This means that the situation in the region has been brought under control and the authorities are comfortable with lifting the previously instituted restrictions.
In an exclusive interview with the Guyana Chronicle on Wednesday, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, related, “Bartica had a spike (in the number of COVID-19 cases) and that has come down nicely…. We’re happy about that.”
The township of Bartica is the most populated area in the region and the minister indicated that the Regional Task Force was monitoring the situation in that community. The regional team would provide daily updates to the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) for further analysis.
The minister, however, cautioned that persons remain vigilant in order to avoid another spike in cases. He reminded that the virus has an incubation period of up to 14 days and that means that if the spread of the virus intensified during the holiday season, a spike in the number of cases can be seen shortly.
Mayor of Bartica, Gifford Marshall, told the Guyana Chronicle in December that the town council does not want to make the decision to entirely “shut down” the town, particularly at a time when Christians value engaging in their religious activities. And so, he said emphasis must be placed on encouraging persons to desist from harmful activities and act more responsibly.
He, however, lamented that many individuals were acting in contravention of the guidelines and were finding novel ways of engaging in restricted activities — such as private, closed door parties.