Guyana confirms detection of Delta variant
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Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony
Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony

–Health Minister warns against persons becoming complacent amid the pandemic

MINISTER of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, has confirmed that the Delta variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Guyana.

He said that this was found after 50 samples were sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad and Tobago for genomic sequencing.

“We had some samples that were sent to CARPHA at the time when we were having a surge with Delta cases and it confirmed what we saw clinically,” Dr. Anthony said on the sidelines of a ceremony to commemorate World Aids Day, on Wednesday.

At the same time, the government is working with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and CARPHA to determine whether it would move forward with sending samples to test for the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

With scientists discovering this new variant, the Health Minister said it is important for persons to take all necessary precautions to prevent themselves from contracting the virus.
He advised against becoming complacent, especially during the festive season which is beginning.

The number of positive cases continue to grow daily, and this is a direct result of persons’ “laxed attitude” to the preventative measures in place.

“Personal responsibility is very important. When I look around, sometimes over the last few weeks, I think a lot of people have become complacent, they are too laxed, and with the Christmas season coming on, I’m a little bit worried because again we have seen a lot of overcrowding; now people really need to take responsibility,” Dr. Anthony said.

The Health Minister encouraged persons to sanitise, wear face masks, practice social distancing and get vaccinated.

As of Tuesday, 401,445 persons received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, which is approximately 78.3 per cent of the country’s adult population. Some 279,658 persons have received a second dose, which is 54.5 per cent of the adult population.

For the 12 to 17 age category, 29,256 or 40.1 per cent of the country’s adolescents took the first dose, while 20,473 persons are fully inoculated.
Even as persons continue to safeguard themselves against COVID-19 through vaccination, it is also important to adhere to the other preventative measures in light of the Omicron variant.

While the government implemented strict measures to guard against the scourge, Dr. Anthony said there are no immediate plans to limit travel to Guyana due to the Omicron variant. Minister Anthony said that this step would only serve to slow the presence of the virus but not to stop it completely.

“Travel restrictions do not stop any variant from moving. We have seen that when Alpha surfaced, we have seen that with Beta, Gamma and Delta… what it would probably do is help to slow the spread of the variant but eventually if that variant becomes dominant it would circulate so travel restrictions are not a very effective way of preventing anything. What would be an effective way is if people got vaccinated,” Dr. Anthony said.

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