APNU/AFC neglected COVID-19 while focusing on politics – Mark Phillips

…as Guyana’s cases rise to 235

In its quest to prove a win despite contrary results which showed their defeat at the March polls, the caretaker A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition neglected the health sector at a crucial time and allowed the coronavirus pandemic to spiral out of control.
This was the position taken by PPP/C Prime Ministerial Candidate, retired Brigadier Mark Phillips during an engagement on Monday, whereby he noted that the country has adequate human resource capacity to handle COVID-19. However, it lacks direction while the coalition continues to absorb itself in politics in order to remain in power.
“I’m convinced that the expertise to deal with COVID-19 exists in Guyana. We just need some restructuring and some redirection. The reality is that the present Government is more preoccupied with the political side of remaining in office and they’re not focusing as they should on dealing with this pandemic,” the Prime Ministerial Candidate positioned.
As soon as the PPP is declared winner, Phillips noted, their governance will immediately restructure the sector and ensure that the epidemic is handled appropriately.
“If we can have the transition as is required after the elections, we are ready to go and we will restructure and redirect the resources and the Guyanese people will see almost immediately, a better approach to deal with this pandemic.”

235 cases
After 17 weeks of battling with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Guyana recorded 235 positive cases on Monday.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shamdeo Persaud provided the daily update, which showed an increase of five cases.
Over the weekend, the National Reference Laboratory, which processes samples for COVID-19 was closed for electrical works, resulting in a suspension of testing.
From the 235 cases, a total of 114 persons have recovered thus far and the number of deaths remains at 12. In the facilities, there are now 109 active cases in institutional insolation, 18 persons in institutional quarantine and one patient in the COVID-19 ICU.
Some 2552 tests were conducted with 2317 of those being negative.
“Our number of positive cases is a clear indication that we have not achieved the targeted results as expected with limiting the transmission,” Dr Persaud lamented.
He further recognised that many persons were seen congregating at the Georgetown seawall in large masses this weekend, despite repeated warnings. Despite multiple warnings, the curfew and guidelines continue to be flouted, especially in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).
“Over the weekend, we observed large gatherings on the seawall in Region Four after 06:00 pm despite repeated warnings to observe physical distancing, to wear a mask when out in public and to adhere to the curfew measures. It is quite obvious that all our messages are falling on deaf ears and that our young population is determined to do as they please, evidently of the opinion that COVID-19 is a hoax and that they cannot be infected.”
The CMO went on to question why the public is continuing with their careless actions, despite seeing the dreadful effects in many countries.
“Is neighbouring Brazil’s death toll a figment of our imagination? Do we have to see our citizens dropping and dying on the road before we take COVID-19 seriously? Are we so callous that we think little of the service being done by all the frontline workers even at the risk of infecting themselves and their family? What about the statistics which show that our males are predominantly being affected and that our 20-29 age group is most at risk? Finally, do we really care for our loved ones particularly our grandmothers and grandfathers whose lives we endanger when we go home after such gatherings?” he asked.
For those displaying this “lax behaviour”, he reminded that the coronavirus will soon “catch up” if they do not desist from such.
Once again, residents of Moruca, Region One (Barima-Waini) and Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) were asked to remain vigilant and heed warnings as these areas continue to witness heightened cases in recent weeks.
“We have indicated that a large number of positive cases in both of these regions have no signs and symptoms. These persons can transmit this disease and you will not even know that they are sick because there is no sign to tell you this.”
According to the World Health Organisation, the total number of cases is 10,021,401 with 495,760 deaths. Regionally, the number of cases is 4,933,972 with 241,931 deaths.