Increased fines for COVID-19 offences coming- Health Minister

Last Updated on Saturday, 29 August 2020, 22:55 by Denis Chabrol

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony on Saturday said government was preparing to amend the Health Ordnance to provide for higher fines, but he said ultimately the public has to heed advice if the virus is to be brought under control.

“One of the things that we are right now contemplating is to look at the Ordinance and possibly now, with Parliament reopening, there is a possibility that we might examine that Public Health Ordinance with a view of increasing some of the fines,” he told News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/ Demerara Waves Online News.

Trinidad and Tobago last week decided to amend its Public Health Ordinance to increase fines for several breaches of that twin-island nation’s rules.

The Minister said the Health Ministry has been talking with the Guyana Police Force to intensify the enforcement of the COVID-19 measures. “We have to work with them more. I don’t know how much more we can. We can keep emphasising all the things that are necessary but the agencies have to help us,” said Dr. Anthony, a Public Health specialist.

All entry and exit points to the Georgetown Seawall were Saturday sealed off by police. Earlier this week, police evidently did nothing to manage the congestion of people who had gone to process and police clearances.

Dr. Anthony could not provide details of the proposed amendments as consultations were still underway.

The Ministry of Health said 96 persons, including nine in the Intensive Care Unit, were hospitalised and 413 others were in home isolation. The figures show that there were four new cases in the last 24 hours. Of the 1,184 positive cases since the first case was diagnosed in March, 2020,  636 have recovered. So far, 8,079 persons have been tested for the virus.