PRESIDENT, Dr. Irfaan Ali, on Wednesday, released a special broadcast message seeking to remind Guyanese that the COVID-19 pandemic remains a serious national issue and a major global health concern. “I urge you to continue to follow the guidelines, I urge you to continue to stay safe; I urge you to continue to protect your families and your communities by adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines,” the President appealed. By way of a short video, Dr. Ali reminded the nation that “We are not ahead of the curve. We are still managing this deadly pandemic. We need all stakeholders, we need all Guyanese on board,” President Ali emphasised. He further explained that while the government has sought to strike the balance between the economy and the health management of the COVID-19 pandemic, Guyanese need to be responsible. The Head of State’s plea comes on the heels of some 140 persons being reportedly arrested over the Easter weekend for breaching COVID-19 protocols. Reports are that those arrested were found in various bars and entertainment spots later than the 22:30hrs (10:30 PM) national curfew time that has been instituted to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
This newspaper was reliably informed that on Good Friday, some 23 persons were arrested for breaching the curfew at the Sleep-In Hotel, located on Church Street, Georgetown. On Saturday, 20 persons were reportedly arrested for the same offence at the Altitude bar on Sandy Babb Street, Kitty, Georgetown, alongside an additional 31 persons at the Kairos on Charlotte Street, Georgetown. Additionally, ranks from the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) discovered a large number of patrons at the Hommee Hospitality Hotel and Bar on Sunday morning. These persons were gathered in breach of the COVID-19 regulations, and at the establishment after the curfew period. Resultantly, 26 persons were arrested and placed on cash bail pending their court appearance. Furthermore, during a ‘Covicurb’ exercise carried out on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD) on Saturday night to Sunday morning, it was reported that 40 persons were arrested for similar breaches at the Boat House Bar at Supply, EBD. It is important to note that while the national curfew is from 22:30 hrs to 04:00hrs, the COVID-19 emergency measures state that businesses should be closed by 21:30 hours. Even before the holiday weekend, President Ali had encouraged Guyanese to adhere to the guidelines, as the country is still experiencing a deadly pandemic.