Public health authorities are currently monitoring 18 persons for the deadly Coronavirus, who would have entered the country from high-risk regions of the world.
This disclosure was made by the Public Health Ministry on Friday, noting that 54 persons were initially under surveillance but 36 were given clearance.
According to the statement, since the commencement of active monitoring at ports in Guyana on January 18, a total of 54 persons arrived in the country with a history of travel from high-risk areas. Some 51 persons arriving from mainland China or Hong Kong were screened.
Out of this number, 37 of these persons were Chinese nationals, 12 Guyanese and one each from Finland and the United States of America. Two Ukrainians and one Singaporean travelled from Singapore through Europe to Guyana and were also cautiously screened and cleared for entry.
Thus far, 53 persons have been in contact with the Ministry via telephone calls. While the traveller from Finland would’ve already left Guyana for Suriname, four persons indicated that they were not feeling well. Upon examination, all were diagnosed with other conditions and cleared of the Coronavirus or COVID-19 illness.
Along with ‘high-level’ monitoring for any suspected cases, the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) was fully equipped with 14 bed units while Diamond and West Demerara Hospitals have the capacity to isolate and manage any confirmed cases.
The isolation areas are equipped and personal protective equipment, along with essential medicines and other supplies are in stock. Presently, the Ministry is in the process of developing its isolation capacity at a majority of the main health facilities but seven private institutions also have the capacity to do so.
Eight Medex were deployed to port health authorities, and through training, over 500 medical professionals inclusive of doctors, nurses and auxiliary staff are prepared to respond. Immigration and Customs Officers have been apprised of what to look for, and additional supplies have been dispatched to all workers at critical points.
The Ministry in partnership with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) developed the capacity to test locally for the Coronavirus along with testing for Influenza A and B, similar to the COVID-19.
The coronavirus has reached a global epidemic and just recently, Guyana’s Southern neighbour, Brazil, recorded its first case.
While the World Health Organisation (WHO) has upgraded the global risk of the coronavirus outbreak to “very high”, the United Nations has reportedly contended that there is still a chance of containing the virus if the chain of transmission were to be ruptured.
According to the WHO, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are “fever, tiredness, and dry cough”. But some patients may have aches, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea.