Guyana: Indigenous villages close doors on visitors

By Guyana Chronicle

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(GUYANA CHRONICLE) – AS a precautionary measure, several Indigenous villages have decided to close access to visitors in light of the recently-recorded cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

On Tuesday, Santa Rosa Toshao, Whanita Phillips, informed the Region Two administration that as of Monday March 23, 2020 to April 5, 2020, the Charity-Moruca speedboat route would be closed to all passenger boats.

On Monday, Toshao of St Cuthbert’s Mission, Beverly Clenkian, noted in a Facebook post that the village council will not be accepting visitors until further notice. Clenkian noted that signboards will be erected at the entrance to the popular village while the council will be meeting with residents this week to detail effective health practices in light of the virus’ presence here. Medical personnel will be on hand to provide information to visitors.
Reports are that the village councils at Orealla and Siparuta on the Corentyne River have also instituted strict measures to visitors as well as residents. At several villages in the Rupununi, the village councils are also instituting measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

Guyana has recorded four cases of the global pandemic, resulting in the implementation of strict measures at various ports-of-entry across the country. In addition, various public agencies, including the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) have actioned restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

As of midnight on Wednesday, the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) and the Eugene F Correia International Airport will be closed for two weeks to all flights except local, outgoing, medivac, cargo flights and those making technical stops. Provisions would be made for special authorised flights.

The Guyana Police Force noted on Tuesday that in pursuance of measures to alleviate the spread of the coronavirus and to dissuade large gatherings and assemblies, no application for bar-b-que permits, fairs, parties and any other public event would be processed.
Regional Police Commanders across the country would not entertain such requests until further notice, the police said.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Public Health announced that four persons have been tested positive with the dreaded Covid-19 virus. They are all relatives of a woman who contracted the virus in New York, but travelled back home and passed away last week. Her husband, daughter and two other relatives have been tested positive. Authorities have also contacted several persons who travelled on the same flight with the woman to Guyana who might have been exposed to the disease. Hundreds also attended her wake at Good Hope, East Coast Demerara and interacted with relatives who were exposed to the woman.

Guyana has now joined Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname in closing off their airports to international flights. Suriname, last week, took a decision to close the Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport, also known as Paramaribo-Zanderij International Airport, after recording its first imported case of Covid-19 on Friday.

American Airlines recently suspended its services to Guyana and a number of other countries as it steps up precautions against the coronavirus.

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