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33,000 face masks needed for national vote recount

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 April 2020, 12:16 by Denis Chabrol

GECOM Commissioners and Secretariat Staff inspect the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.

At least 33,000 masks will be needed for the national recount of votes cast in last month’s general elections, if the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) is to stick with the recommendation by a Ministry of Public Health team, but already there is a countrywide shortage of this protective gear.

Based on recommendations by the Public Health team that visited the Arthur Chung Conference Centre on April 2, 2020, a total of 132 persons must be present in the 10 rooms assigned to count the votes.

The five-member team recommended that disposable or surgical masks should be changed every 30 to 60 minutes.With the vote recount expected to take at least 25 days, GECOM will require at minimum 33,000 masks if they are changed every hour or 66,000 if changed every half hour.

GECOM spokeswoman, Yolanda Warde told News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/ Demerara Waves Online News that “everything will be in place for the recount” and that the elections management agency has accepting all of the Health team’s recommendations, as is, for supplies for masks, sanitisers, tissues etc. for the duration of the recount.

The number of persons at the workstations does not appear to cater for other people working in and around the Arthur Chung Conference Centre to support the work of the core staff.

Checks. however, with major medical suppliers revealed that several of them do not have any masks.

The Public Health Sector has also been struggling to provide masks and other protective equipment to nurses especially at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.

Based on the recommendations by the Public Health team, GECOM would also need large quantities of hand sanitizers, disposable gloves, and disposal hand tissue.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) high-level team of scrutineers to oversee the recount is expected t0 arrive in Guyana on Thursday, April 30, 2020. They will be tested for the coronavirus, COVID-19, in their countries before they leave for Guyana and here bef0re they depart at the end of the exercise.

The National COVID-19 Task Force has overturned its previous decision that the CARICOM team would had to be quarantined for 14 days on arrival.

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