46 new COVID-19 cases recorded

Cases from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been increasing constantly throughout January and on Saturday, 46 new cases were reported. This contributed to the total confirmed statistics of 6851 cases.
The Health Ministry’s statistics showed deaths remaining at 170. There are five persons in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 55 in institutional quarantine, 504 in home isolation and 38 in institutional quarantine. This indicates that active cases have climbed to 564.
A breakdown showed that four new cases were detected in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), three in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) 26 in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), two in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), two in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), three in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and five in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
The cases in Regions One (Barima-Waini), Five (Mahaica-Berbice) and Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) remained at 981, 152 and 403.
Some 6162 patients have recovered, after 3515 males and 3332 females tested positive.
On Friday, Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony said the new variant of COVID-19 that was detected a few days ago in Brazil poses concern since it is a more transmittable form of the coronavirus.
He was quoted as saying, “We are very concerned…If this is more transmittable, then more people are going to get infected and if more people get infected, then we can assume that we’ll get a higher percentage of them coming into the hospital needing ICU care. These are going to be the challenges if this variant circulates in our country.”
On the aspect of closing borders with neighbouring Brazil, he informed that the land border has been closed for some time. In fact, the Takutu Bridge which connects Guyana to Brazil is only open for the exchange of goods one day per week.
“The bridge over the Takutu [River] has been closed. We do allow on Thursdays very limited amount of interaction where goods can come over from Brazil and goods from Guyana can go across to Brazil. That is properly supervised by the health authority of both countries.”
There have been instances of persons coming into Guyana illegally, prompting efforts from the Joint Services to patrol the border regions. Brazilians have also bolstered their surveillance efforts.
While more investigation is underway to get a clearer “clinical picture”, the Pan American Health Organisation has positioned that it might have already spread to several South American territories. Genetic sequencing would have made the detection in these countries, an indication that precautions should be taken even more seriously.
“PAHO has estimated that the variant might be in a number of South American countries. The reason why they would have said that is because they have a network of 21 laboratories that have been doing genetic sequencing and they’ve detected this variant in some of those countries. That variant is in Brazil for sure and one of the characteristics of that it is more transmittable, meaning that you can’t get it more easily. That is why we will have to take precautions,” the Minister positioned.
Globally, there are 92,262,621 reported cases of COVID-19 with more than 2 million deaths. In the Americas, there are 40,922,526 with 947,544 deaths. (G12)