Guyana poised to expand COVID-19 task force to prepare for arrival of vaccines

Last Updated on Monday, 21 December 2020, 17:52 by Denis Chabrol

Guyana is about to expand its COVID-19 task force to prepare the country for the importation, storage and distribution of vaccines to immunise people against the virus that has so far killed 159 persons locally, Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony announced Monday.

“What we are looking for is specific types of expertise as it relates to vaccine so whether people have expertise in terms of cold chain or whether they can help us with logistics, whether they can help us with management and so forth so those are the kinds of things that we are looking for,” he told government’s  Department of Public Information (DPI).

Several companies have already submitted bids to the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) for the construction of walk-in cold storage facilities.

The Health Minister said government has already consulted a number of persons to include them in thee Task Force and would this week announce their names. “We have a number of persons who are familiar with vaccines, not necessarily adult vaccines, but vaccines in general and other stakeholders who would be on the committee so it is a multi-stakeholder kind of committee,” he said. Dr. Anthony hinted that a number of the persons from the private sector who are experienced with vaccines as well as persons from the private sector would be included in the task force.

The Health Minister, meanwhile, said the number of COVID-19 positive persons in Bartica has reduced from more than 60 cases last week to 34 at the moment, but  the viral disease has surfaced in areas on the UNAMCO Road in Kwakwani, Upper Berbice River.  There, he said, 29 cases have been detected, they have been informed and were being monitored. At Moraikobai, there are 29 cases.  There are 10 patients at the Intensive Care Unit of the Infectious Disease Hospital at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown. 46 new cases have been recorded over the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said.

Without releasing figures, he said there have been spikes in Wismar and Amelia’s Ward and he hoped that by later this week or early next week there would be a reduction.

Official figures released on Monday shows that 5,369 of the 6,171 infected persons have recovered. Currently, 34 persons have been hospitalised , 12 are quarantined to see if they would develop symptoms and 602 have been told to isolate at home.