Guyanese must exhibit responsibility in order to mitigate COVID-19 spread

Dear Editor,
The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) is deeply concerned at the rising number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities in our country over the last few days.
Statistics emanating from the Ministry of Health have informed that as many as fourteen (14) persons have lost their battle to the dreaded virus since the start of the month, while several scores of Guyanese have become infected during that period. At this time, the Federation extends its deepest sympathies to the relatives and friends of those who have lost their lives, and wishes those who have become infected a speedy and healthy recovery.
In recent days, we have come to learn that a possibly new variant of the dreaded virus has entered Guyana. The Health Ministry has warned that this new strain is more contagious and seems to affect younger persons. Against this background, the FITUG urges all Guyanese to act responsibility and adhere to the COVID-19 protocols as we seek to minimise the rapid spread of the virus.
We have seen in the media and elsewhere, over the weekend, the strong presence of the disciplined forces seeking to avert the large public gatherings that are customary with Easter. We hold that the actions, which seem to have been effective, should not have been necessary. We believe that, as responsible people, it is incumbent upon us all to take sober actions to stop the transmission of COVID-19. We are hoping that, in the coming days and weeks, we can see Guyanese displaying greater responsibility in order to bring the pandemic under control.
We also recognise that persons have been congregating at bars, shops and other business places. While we realise that businesses have been severely affected by the pandemic, we urge the owners of such to also demonstrate some sense of urgency and seek to promote practices that allow businesses to function while mitigating the spread of the virus. It is in the long-term interest of our nation.
The FITUG is also conscious that large gatherings are not limited to businesses, but extend to social and other activities. Those persons are equally irresponsible, and those who encourage such congregation should be appropriately sanctioned.
The FITUG notes the active efforts of the Government to bring the pandemic under control. Already, thousands of vaccines have been secured, and we are aware of efforts by the Administration to obtain more vaccines. We note, too, that many Guyanese have been vaccinated. This is welcome news, and demonstrates a responsible attitude.
We have heard the apprehensions of some who are refusing to be vaccinated. Such talk is not helpful in defeating the pandemic and allowing life to return to normal. The vaccines utilised in Guyana have been utilised in many countries with good effect. Moreover, our health professionals have testified to the safety of the vaccines. We therefore encourage all eligible Guyanese to be vaccinated at this time.
The Federation also encourages employers to allow their employees time off to be inoculated while providing adequate protection at the workplace.
The Federation strongly holds that our collective responsible actions can go a long way in bringing the pandemic under control. We therefore must adhere to the advice of health professionals, observe protocols, and obtain vaccines. We remind it is our actions that would ultimately stop the pandemic, and the ambivalence of some is not helpful at this time.

Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana