Only vaccinated persons can now access public buildings

…as another COVID death recorded, 215 new cases

Guyana’s COVID-19 death toll has gone up to 641 after another person who tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) died.
According to the Health Ministry on Sunday, this latest fatality is a 62-year-old male from Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) who died on Saturday while receiving care at a medical facility.
With the total number of fatalities from the pandemic in Guyana increasing, the COVID-19 death toll for the month of September has climbed to 16 – nine females and seven males.
Meanwhile, the Ministry’s updated COVID-19 dashboard for Sunday showed that 215 new infections were detected in the last 24 hours from 1948 tests conducted.
The total number of confirmed cases in the country has now increased to 26,510. But only 2427 of these are currently active cases including 33 patients in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the remaining 2394 persons in isolation, that is, 125 in institutional isolation and the remaining 2269 in home isolation.
There are also three other persons in institutional quarantine.
To date, some 23,543 persons have recovered from the life-threatening disease – 29 more recoveries than the day before. 
Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Guyana last year, some 276,325 persons have been tested and of this, 12,784 males and 13,726 females were found to be positive.

New cases
Of the 215 new cases recorded on Sunday, four are from Region One (Barima-Waini), seven cases from Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), 59 from Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), a whopping 122 cases from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), another seven from Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), nine cases from the East Berbice-Corentyne region, three from Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), two more from Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), and the remaining two cases from Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
There were no new cases recorded in Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) in the last 24 hours, according to Sunday’s dashboard.
In order to curb the rising number of cases in the country, the Guyana Government launched its COVID-19 vaccination exercise back in February and is aggressively rolling it out across the various regions in order to achieve herd immunity.
According to recent figures, more than 318,000 persons in the adult population in Guyana have received their first dose so far and over 166,000 persons 18 years are now fully vaccinated. In addition, government commenced vaccination of children between the ages of 12 and 17 after receiving 146,250 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines from the United States. To date, nearly 4000 adolescents have been immunised against COVID-19 ahead of school reopening today.
As more persons continue to get vaccinated, authorities are urging the public to continue observing all COVID-19 preventative measures, particularly masking in public, social distancing and frequent hand washing and sanitising. The measures also include vaccination requirements to access certain social locations such as restaurants and cinemas as well as some Government services.

COVID-19 Emergency Measures (No 21)
In fact, the COVID-19 Emergency
Measures (No 21), which addressed the new policy regarding access to services provided by Government Ministries and agencies, has been replaced to now allow only vaccinated persons to access any public buildings.
The COVID-19
Emergency Measures (No 22), which runs until September 30, 2021, and could be extended further, was gazetted late Saturday to replace the previous measures and outlines the new policies for entering any public building.
The new guidelines – measure No 17 – stipulate that, “…any persons who wishes to enter a public building shall be vaccinated.”
“Where a person is unvaccinated and wishes to enter a public building that person may only enter that building – (a) by appointment, and (b) by presenting a negative molecular biological PCR test result of a test taken within seven days of the appointment,” it continues to state.
Moreover, the negative PCR test requirement, which can only be obtained from laboratories approved by the Health Ministry, also applies to unvaccinated workers of any such public building.
According to this new measure, “public building” refers to any building to which the public has lawful access including both publicly and privately-owned buildings such as institutions of learning.
This new requirement comes in light of pushback by some sections including teachers and healthcare workers against the vaccination requirements imposed by Government to protect the population.
Health authorities have repeatedly pleaded with persons to get vaccinated since it protects against the worst effects of the deadly virus. In fact, it was reported that only two of the 640-plus persons who have died from COVID-19 to date were fully vaccinated. Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony said that these two vaccinated persons had “severe comorbidities” which led to their deaths.
But he noted that at least 98 per cent of patients that are being admitted at the Ocean View Hospital which houses the COVID-19 ICU are unvaccinated.
One senior medical official has indicated that in July, out of 56 patients admitted in the COVID ICU, 54 were unvaccinated. Similarly, in the month of August, 87 of the 92 ICU admissions at the COVID hospital were unvaccinated.  (G8)