Region 4 woman is latest COVID-19 fatality, death toll now stands at 189

— 51 new cases recorded in 24 hours

The Health Ministry on Wednesday confirmed that another person who tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has died thus taking the death toll to 189.
The latest fatality is a 69-year-old female from Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) who died on Tuesday while receiving care at a medical facility.
This is the third COVID-19 death recorded thus far this week. On Sunday, two elderly males, aged 71 and 70, from Regions Four and Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) respectively, died while being treated for the virus at medical facilities.
Meanwhile, new statistics provided by the Health Ministry showed that 51 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in a 24-hour period from 559 tests. The total number of confirmed cases in the country is now 8313 – 4310 males and 4003 females.
Of that total, only 605 are currently active cases. These comprise eight patients in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and 597 persons in isolation – 42 persons in institutional isolation and the other 555 in home isolation.
There are 17 persons in institutional quarantine.
To date, some 7519 persons have recovered from the life-threatening virus locally, with 33 more recoveries recorded on Wednesday. Of the new cases recorded on Wednesday, seven were detected in Essequibo Islands-West Demerara, a whopping 36 cases in Demerara-Mahaica, one in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice); four in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) and three cases in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).
The figures in the other four regions – Region One (Barima-Waini), Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), Region Nine (Upper Essequibo-Takutu) and Region 10 (Upper Demerara- Berbice) – remained the same.
As the number of cases continues to increase in Guyana, Government last week began a COVID-19 vaccination drive to protect against the deadly virus.
Guyana received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines last week when Barbados donated 3000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. This saw healthcare workers at the Georgetown Public and the Infectious Diseases Hospital at Ocean View, Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown, being given the first doses.
Health-care and other frontline workers are the first category to be vaccinated followed by at-risk persons and the elderly population before extending to the wider citizenry.
In the meantime, as Guyana awaits the arrival of vaccines under the COVAX facility, one of its strongest diplomatic allies, India, has since donated thousands of the AstraZeneca jab to Guyana via a 500,000 doses pledge to the Caribbean Community (Caricom).
In a statement, the Indian High Commissioner said on Wednesday that as part of Caricom’s donation, “Guyana, along with Antigua and Barbuda and St Kitts and Nevis, will also receive tens of thousands of doses of Covishield vaccine to meet the immediate requirements of vaccinating health-care workers, frontline workers and those with co-morbidities within the end of February 2021.”
Covishield is the local name for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine that was developed in the United Kingdom and is being manufactured in India by the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer.
In addition to these donated doses, India will also assist the Caricom countries in securing supplies of vaccines at affordable rates from Indian manufacturing companies.
Recognising India’s remarkable contribution to the fight against COVID-19 by supplying vaccines, a resolution which was sponsored by Caricom was adopted by the Permanent Council of the Organisation of American States OAS) by acclamation on Wednesday, expressing gratitude to the Indian Government for generously supplying beneficial quantities of the Serum Institute-made Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to several Caribbean countries.
Also, on Wednesday, India’s External Affairs Minister, Dr S Jaishankar announced, during a virtual address to the United Nations Security Council, a gift of 200,000 doses of vaccines for UN peacekeepers worldwide.
Vaccines made in India totalling around eight million have now been supplied to over 25 nations and 49 countries across the world will be added soon to the list of beneficiaries under its #VaccineMaitri (Vaccine Friendship) initiative, which has been dubbed as “vaccine diplomacy” by the media.
India’s vaccine manufacturers can manufacture up to 650-800 million vaccines by August 2021 with the Serum Institute of India alone agreeing to produce 1.1 billion doses for delivery in total. This will also be used to supply the COVAX facility along with fulfilling commitments to supply 10 million doses to Africa, one million doses to UN workers and countries across the world.
On Monday, the World Health Organisation approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for use in its COVAX vaccination programme, which aims to provide poorer countries around the world with “equitable access” to COVID-19 vaccines.
Meanwhile, the last-phase trials of other Made in India COVID-19 vaccines are progressing well with the country’s first indigenous vaccine against the novel coronavirus, COVAXIN – developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology, Pune, is in the second phase of clinical trials.
Already, the Government of India had earlier assisted Guyana and Antigua and Barbuda with ventilators; Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs); medicines and other essential medical supplies worth US$1 million per country to help with these countries’ fight against the pandemic. A similar donation worth US$300,000 was made to St Kitts and Nevis.