– Village Council contemplates total lockdown
Thirty persons in the Amerindian village of Siparuta were tested positive with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), according to Toshao of Orealla/Siparuta, Carl Peneux.
In addition, he noted that an elderly man has also perished from the virus and as such, the Council is contemplating a lockdown of both Orealla and Siparuta.
Among the 30 who were tested positive is a pregnant woman along with two persons from Siparuta who were admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
During a virtual press conference on Monday, Regional Chairman David Armogan confirmed that 16 positive cases were recorded as of Sunday at Siparuta but the Toshao stated that an additional 14 others tested positive on Monday.
This led to a widespread testing exercise which has resulted in a shortage of testing kits.
However, Armogan stated that Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) now has 152 confirmed cases of the virus.
The Chairman further revealed that a child who was feeling unwell was taken to the Amerindian Hostel at Corriverton and then to the Skeldon Hospital where she was tested for the novel coronavirus. The results of the test came back positive.
On the other hand, the Toshao related that 39 tests were done in the village but sixteen came back positive.
“We had a lot of residents from Siparuta going to Apura (an Amerindian village on the Suriname side of the Corentyne River) to do business and some of them were being assisted by the Suriname Police to go over to the country to purchase Parbo Bier,” Peneux disclosed.
Expressing concern at persons crossing the Guyana-Suriname border illegally, Peneux said the village only has three police officers and appealed for enforcement.
“We are having a problem with people adhering to the national restrictions,” Peneux said.
Meanwhile, the Village Council met on Saturday to discuss the issue and according to Peneux, one of the recommendations made was to lock down the two villages.
However, he noted that measures have already been put in place to reduce the spread of the virus.
“We have decided that nobody from Orealla should go to Siparuta and nobody from Siparuta must come to Orealla.”
Peneux further explained that a gate will be constructed at the bridge which is across the Tarakully River which separates the two villages. A police officer was reportedly expected to be placed at the gate to prevent persons from entering either village.
Meanwhile, as testing continues, 73 samples were sent for testing. Armogan stated that testing is continuing at both Orealla and Siparuta.
Armogan noted that those who need to be isolated are being taken to Corriverton since neither of the villages is equipped with such facilities.
“We are working now with the National Task Force and with the CDC because if you are locking down these areas, we would have to take in food supplies and other supplies that they would need.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman pointed out that New Amsterdam is now a COVID-19 hotspot as several cases have been recorded in the town.
“We are doing more testing there and also we have a few cases in the Angoy’s Avenue area. These are the hotspot areas. We also have to look at East Canje because we have a few cases there too.”
Asked whether any consideration is being made of putting the Region on a lockdown, Armogan said it is not being considered at this time.
Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony on Monday stated that a team was dispatched to the two riverine communities along the Corentyne River and met with the Village Council in an effort to assist them to understand the precautionary measures that should be taken.