(GUYANA CHRONICLE) – LOCAL health authorities have recorded two new cases of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease over the past 24 hours, taking the number of confirmed cases to 47.
According to information from the Ministry of Public Health, while the number of cases have climbed, the number of deaths remain at six. Five persons are being treated in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Health authorities have so far tested 213 persons of which 47 were positive and 166 were negative. There are 33 persons in institutional isolation and 19 persons in institutional quarantine. Globally, there are more than 1.8 million cases of COVID-19, with over 105,000 deaths. And, with no approved treatment or cure, there is no assurance that persons will survive after contracting the disease. In the absence of approved medication, governments and authorities across the world have employed a number of preventative measures to contain the spread of the disease.
President David Granger in an address to the nation Saturday evening said Guyana is in line to receive approximately 30,000 masks, a number of ventilators and other medical equipment from the People’s Republic of China as it ups its fight against COVID-19. Added to that, the country has turned to the Government of India for financial assistance.
According to President Granger, the fight requires unprecedented expenditure and outlay of resources to enable identification and testing, isolation, protection and treatment. These added resources will complement systems already in place to suppress the spread of the virus and provide appropriate medical attention.
Saturday (April 11) marked one month since COVID-19 claimed the life of the first Guyanese here. The woman – 52-year-old Ratna Baboolall — had returned to Guyana from the United States days before she succumbed. Since then, the number of recorded cases and deaths have increased.
The Head of State said he was pleased to have learnt of the recovery of the eight persons who had initially tested positive for the disease. “I wish the other infected persons a speedy and complete recovery,” he said. COVID-19, President Granger said, is a “pernicious” killer which has launched a vicious attack on mankind globally, regardless of race, region, religion, or economic status and Guyana has not been spared.
Though the government through the Ministry of Public Health is in consultation with the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO), has initiated a number of measures to safeguard the well-being of its people, the President has acknowledged that the journey ahead remains a difficult one.
While persons who become ill should have access to the best care in the shortest possible time to ensure their recovery and rehabilitation, President Granger said understandably, the national focus is on those who have been infected and afflicted.
As the country wages war against the deadly disease, the Head of State said the efforts of the country’s frontline workers, in particular, those within the medical field, should not go unnoticed.
“I ask you, however, to think tenderly of our public health professionals and service providers, that is to say, our doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and all other supporting staff – medical and non-medical – who are providing the required care for those in distress.
Public health practitioners are on the frontline of protecting those stricken by the disease. They have been working tirelessly through this very difficult situation to provide quality healthcare to those who have been infected and afflicted. Everyone in the public health system has played a vital part in the fight against this disease,” he said.
He said while the public has been instructed to ‘stay at home,’ in physical isolation, the country’s health professionals are required to leave their homes and families, daily, to work in the health centres, hospitals quarantine stations and other institutions as they do their part to combat the disease.
“Every day they report for duty to work in conditions that could be dangerous to their own health and safety. Let us all think about these public servants and employees in private institutions who are putting their lives on the line. We all should ponder their personal, physical, psychological and emotional needs and that, day after day, they are pressed beyond measure to deal with so much human suffering. We should not take their service for granted,” he said.
The President called on all Guyanese to continue to support the country’s frontline workers as they execute their duties. “They are the sinews of our health services. We must protect and respect them. We are eternally grateful for their exertions during these trying times. Their dedication is valued,” he posited.
According to WHO, COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the newly discovered coronavirus. WHO said most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illnesses and recover without requiring special treatment. Older persons and those with underlying medical problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer, are more likely to develop serious illness.
The WHO believes that the best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about the virus, the disease it causes and how it is spread.
“Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol-based rub frequently and not touching your face. The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practise respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow),” the WHO has advised.