The rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and infection of healthcare workers will not affect the delivery of public healthcare services, President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali assured during a press conference on Wednesday.
President Ali said Guyana is not alone in this fight as the new variant, Omicron which is suspected to be here, is affecting countries worldwide.
Over the past two days, Guyana recorded 1,273 new cases of the virus, representing the largest number of infections the country has ever recorded. Nevertheless, President Ali is calling on Guyanese not to panic, noting that Government has taken a proactive approach to deal with the matter.
“I want the population to understand, that what we are faced with is what the entire global community is faced with… all the focus is on managing the healthcare system, ensuring that our facilities are there, ensuring our health personnel is protected to the extent that the health care system remains functional,” the President said.
With about 200 healthcare workers affected by the virus, the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) has since accounted for 70 per cent of the doctors and 50 per cent of the nurses.
The Obstetrics and the Paediatrics Departments are both affected but President Ali is assuring Guyanese that this will not hinder the delivery of service. The President said most countries are moving in the direction of service delivery from the public healthcare system.
He said these countries are going to a situation like what prevailed from the inception of COVID where there were cancellation of surgeries and the focus was only on emergencies.
“We are not heading into that direction because we believe that the system can manage and operate even with the challenge that we have now,” President Ali added.
The Head of State said Guyana has received much praise from the international community on the way it has dealt with the virus from its inception. This is despite sharing borders with countries that are severely affected by COVID-19. He highlighted that many organisations are touting Guyana to be a model on how to manage COVID-19.
“Do the research on what is happening in those jurisdictions and where we are located, and then do the analysis on how we have managed. I think all of us as Guyanese should be very proud of the work our frontline workers, the healthcare system, the government, and private sector and civil society working together with the national task force and the work we have done as a country to manage this to the point where we are today,” he added.
He said, “That is why we are having this press conference so there is no panic in the system and people understand clearly what we are addressing and the proactive way in which we are addressing that.”
The Head of State reminded the nation that the only way to beat COVID-19 getting vaccinated and following the protocols which include sanitisation, wearing a mask correctly, and social distancing.