“I shall be formally inviting the Leader of the Opposition and the leaders of all Parliamentary Political Parties and civil society to join forces with the government in a national response to prepare and protect our people from the deadly Ebola disease,” he said in an address to the nation.
The Guyanese leader said the threat and spread of the virus from West Africa required “full cooperation of the whole population of the country.” “I propose to seek maximum cooperation on this urgent matter.”
The President said that already authorities at the Cheddi Jagan and Ogle International Airports, Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and the Ministries of Health and Transport were on high alert for suspected cases by monitoring arriving passengers. “We have stepped up surveillance at ports of entry. Passengers arriving in Guyana are being more thoroughly screened at these ports,” he added.
Guyana has already banned nationals of Ebola-affected West African countries from entering this South American country by refusing to grant them visas. Guyanese have been urged not to visit those countries but if they must, they have been advised to declare so on arrival here.
Describing the impact of the deadly disease on those countries a s “devastating,” the President extended Guyana’s “profound concern and solidarity,” and stressed that his country could not afford to be ill-prepared.
“Here in Guyana we also have to take preventative and curative measures to protect our people. If, per chance, this disease reaches our shores we must be prepared to limit its effect to contain and bring it under control as fast as possible,” he said.
The President said the country’s preparedness included acquiring medical supplies, more protective gear and identifying retention centres for quarantining and monitoring suspected cases.
He assured that if suspected Ebola cases surface in Guyanam they would be quarantined at holding centres at Ports of Entry. He said elsewhere, suspected cases would be cared for under conditions of strict isolation and large numbers of suspected cases would be mandatorily quarantined at identified facilities established in the country.