Last Updated on Friday, 20 November 2020, 13:29 by Denis Chabrol
Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony has called on Guyanese not to socialise during the Christmas Season in order to reduce the spread of the coronavirus that has already killed more than 140 Guyanese.
“We know that traditionally people tend to increase their socialisation during Christmas, people tend to increase their drinking during Christmas, people want to have family and friends over for Christmas. Those things, in a pandemic, should not be allowed and if you want to remain safe in a pandemic, then you should use the commonsense knowledge that we all have and ask your friends and family to hold on.
They don’t need to come over this Christmas. You don’t need to go out and have a drink this Christmas. Abide by these rules. Who knows, it may be able to save your life because for some people they would get sick, they would come to the hospital, they would end up in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and they can be battling for their life,” he said.
The Health Minister said people in other countries have been reducing infections by abiding by the rules. Experts have said that social distancing, wearing masks and handwashing are among the key strategies to curb the spread of the coronavirus. In that regard, he said keeping Guyana safe has to be a national effort.
“Christmas is certainly not a time when we can let down our guard,” he said
Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA), Carla James endorsed the call by the Health Ministry for less socialisation during the upcoming festive season. “That’s something that we’ll definitely discourage from happening. Mass gatherings is not something we want to try out at this time,” she said.
She acknowledged that the stay-at-home call would “hurt” but she hoped that the Authority’s marketing programme would help in advising Guyanese “where is safe and their capacities are like to host people.” Ms. James explained that most businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector have said they are willing to host up to three families. “The reason that works for us is because our tours are designed for small groups,” she said, adding that most eco-lodges have eight to 10 rooms which provides for “controlled” environments. “Even with the persons that are going to be travelling to these places, they have to abide by those protocols so that we don’t put any business at risk of closing because they are breaking any rules,” the GTA Director said.
The GTA hoped that if all goes well with plans at the eco-lodges and restaurants, that the National COVID-19 Task Force would be convinced to approve the opening up to events that would accommodate more persons. “We cannot open all at once because we need to be able to know what we can manage and right now we can manage small group tours because of the capacity that is at the lodges,” she said.