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Don’t send “mixed messages” about coronavirus- Health Minister urges elected, other officials

Last Updated on Tuesday, 5 January 2021, 14:51 by Denis Chabrol

President Irfaan Ali, Prime Minister Mark Phillips and other persons violating the social distancing rule that scientists say help contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony has called on elected and other officials to stop sending mixed messages in the fight against the coronavirus, COVID-19.

“We have to get everybody to understand the message and we have to get everybody to model the behaviour because once we all do that, we’ll get more people complying  so if we don’t, then we’ll be sending mixed messages so we have to all work together to ensure that the right messages get across because all of us would be affected if we don’t do the right thing,” he said on News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM/ Demerara Waves Online News.

He issued the call against the background of the fact that a number of government ministers, other elected officials, government employees and the police are violating the COVID-19 measures.

Attorney General Anil Nandlall has been holding weekly meetings on the East Coast Demerara of attendees sitting and standing very close to each other. President Irfaan Ali recently hosted a Christmas Eve event on Main Street outside State House where performers and attendees, including himself, were very close to each other. During the Christmas Season, a number of government ministers had been seen at Christmas Tree light-up events where they and attendees had been shoulder-to-shoulder next to each other.

At the commencement of the new Parliament following the declaration of general and regional elections on August 2, 2020,  opposition Parliamentarians Christopher Jones and Sherod Duncan had been cited for unhealthy behaviour by attending  a sitting of the National Assembly although they had been COVID-19 positive.

Attorney General Anil Nandlall at a Christmas Season event on the East Coast Demerara.

But in his New Year’s Message, the President urged Guyanese to abide by the rules to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. “Wearing masks, sanitising hands, gathering only in small groups, maintaining physical distancing are all necessary to keep everyone safe,” he said. He also called on the Nation to demonstrate “our personal and collective responsibility” to combat the disease.

So far, 166 Guyanese have died from the disease since the first reported case and death in March, 2020.

Police, who are responsible for enforcing the COVID-19 measures, have not been stopping buses from carrying a limited number of persons. The police force has also been allowing large gatherings of persons on the Georgetown seawall not far from its headquarters.

An off-duty policeman was shot early Christmas morning at a party in his home-village of Buxton, East Coast Demerara. Two days later, there was another reported gunplay at another social event at the neighbouring village of Vigilance.