Declaring that the Government appears to have no plan or strategy to handle the current COVID-19 situation in Guyana, the opposition APNU+AFC today described the PPP’s handling of the pandemic since taking office as “disastrous”.
There are more than 1000 active COVID-19 cases in the country with 80 deaths recorded as of Tuesday. 60 of the 80 deaths were recorded in the past two months with September being the deadliest month for the pandemic.
During a virtual press conference today, APNU+AFC Member of Parliament Dr. Karen Cummings said the PPP’s first mistake when it took office back in August was to abandon the plans and strategies left by the APNU+AFC government.
“Their immediate move to abandon the strategic plan left in place by the APNU/AFC Coalition Government was foolhardy at best. The APNU/AFC recognized the need for the involvement of all sectors of society to combat this dreaded disease. The PPPC further dismantled the prevention mechanism available for the disease contagion. Hence, their lack of foresight and inability to govern has resulted in an uptick in positive cases and the skyrocketing of deaths. The abject failure of the PPPC government to address the COVID-19 Pandemic has proven to be a disaster for the country”, Dr. Cummings said.
Cummings who is a Medical Doctor and who served as the Junior Health Minister in the first three years of the previous government said unless proper measures are put in place by the government soon, the situation with the coronavirus pandemic in the country could worsen.
Dr. Cummings lashed out at the home isolation policy of the PPP Civic administration. The policy allows persons who are COVID-19 positive but have no symptoms to isolate themselves at home.
“The home isolation program is a complete disaster. Cases are not properly screened to determine if their circumstances warranted for home isolation. Many have reported being informed that they were positive, but no information on the modality of isolation was offered. This has resulted in many persons being on home isolation with no follow-up and medical care and while the low occupancy at the Ocean View and Diamond Isolation units languish”, she said.
In offering recommendations to tackle the growing problem, Dr. Cummings said messaging about COVID-19 must be consistent and persons must understand the threats that exist because of the virus. She said the PPP Government moved to remove Regional Health Officers in the middle of the pandemic and that was not a good move, especially since those Health Officers were integrally involved.
Questioned about what she believes could have been done differently by the APNU+AFC government during the first four months of the pandemic, Cummings said a lockdown should have been instituted and additional measures at the ports should have been looked at.
Under the PPP Government, there has been more testing. The increase in testing, however, resulted in a backlog that went on for weeks. That backlog in testing has since been cleared.
The Ministry of Health continues to call on citizens to follow the guidelines. Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony who just after taking office, described the APNU+AFC’s response as a calamity, now says he doesn’t know what more could be done to curb the situation, other than to encourage persons to follow the guidelines.