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GRA waives all taxes on supplies needed to fight, treat COVID-19

FLASHBACK: A queue of people at Mike’s Pharmacy for cleaning agents and vitamin C the day after a a woman died of COVID-19.

The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has announced a waiver of value added tax (VAT) and duties on all medical supplies for testing, prevention and treatment of the coronavirus (COVID-19), that has so far claimed the life of one woman and afflicted four other persons.

The tax collection agency says the waiver is not limited to soaps, disinfectant sprays, hand sanitizers, sanitizing wipes, face masks, rubbing alcohol and multivitamins and Vitamin C tablets until June 30, 2020.

GRA says the waiver of 15,000 litres of rubbing alcohol have already been provided to Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) since they are providing it through the Ministry of Public Health.

When news first broke in Guyana earlier this month that a woman, who had returned from Queens, New York, died from COVID-19, there was panic buying of Lysol and other sanitizing and disinfecting agents. As demand rose, prices for several of those items tripled.

Tax deductions for all donations made by local businesses to staff and health institutions for the treatment of the virus will also be made by GRA.

Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence on Wednesday said the number of COVID-19-related deaths remains at 1, and there are nine persons under mandatory quarantine, and four are under mandatory isolation. She said seven persons of interest were being followed but six have been ruled out.

Lawrence said all persons quarantined and in isolation are to be provided with support from the Mental Health Unit of the Ministry of Public Health with support from the Ministry of Social Protection.

Public Health Ministry figures show 543 calls received through its toll-free lines.