Guyana may block entry of travellers from China amid fears of coronavirus; entrants after Jan 1 urged to visit doctors

Last Updated on Friday, 31 January 2020, 14:53 by Writer

In an effort to interrupt the spread of the coronavirus, people travelling from China are likely to be blocked from entering Guyana, and all those who came from that populous East Asian country after January are asked to contact the nearest health facility, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

“Persons in China who plan to travel to Guyana are asked to defer those plans until further notice as they are likely to be denied entry,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that lists the measures aimed at reducing the chances of the virus entering or circulating in Guyana.

This decision came after Thursday’s declaration by the World Health Organization of a global health emergency over the new outbreak. Neighbouring Trinidad & Tobago is moving for a two-week travel restriction on people coming from China.

At the same time the foreign affairs public health statement says persons arriving in Guyana from China, “will be subject to quarantine protocols and may be quarantined in a health facility or at home, depending on the outcome of the risk assessment.”

The Ministry of Public Health said people in Guyana, who plan to travel to China, are advised to postpone those plans. However, the Guyana government issued precautions for those who must travel to and from Guyana to minimise their chances of contracting the virus.

They are told to avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections, crowds and the consumption of uncooked food. Universal precautions to take include the frequent washing of hands, especially after direct contact with ill persons or their environment.

In terms of recent travellers from China after January 1st, who are already in Guyana, they are asked to contact their nearest health centre or hospital urgently and to remain at home for 14 days after their date of arrival.

Further those persons are told that should they get flu-like symptoms within 14 days after returning to Guyana from China or another highly affected country, to call the hotline on +592 227 8683 ext 215.

Travellers with symptoms of acute respiratory infection, the foreign ministry advised, should also practice cough etiquette, that is, maintain distance from others, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissue or clothing, and also frequently washing their hands.

The BBC reports that the novel coronavirus has overtaken the 8,100 cases of Sars – severe acute respiratory syndrome – reported during the eight-month outbreak in 2003 in more than 24 countries. Sars had killed 774 persons.

Nearly 10,000 cases of the new virus have been confirmed, most of them in China, since it emerged in December. More than 100 cases have been reported outside China, in 22 countries. The number of deaths so far stands at 213 – all in China.