The Ministry of Health is still awaiting the results for 10 coronavirus samples sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for testing for the new COVID-19 variants.
Guyana submitted the samples more than a week ago as concerns grew about the wider spreading variants of the disease that was recently found in neighbouring Brazil. Guyana has since banned all travel to and from Brazil.
Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony has explained that testing for the variants take time. He said Guyana does not have the capacity right now to test for the new variants and building that capacity could take a long time.
According to Dr. Anthony, “we would like to build the capacity but it will take time, and we would not be able to do so immediately. But as of now, we have been able to work out a relationship with CARPHA and through that relationship, we will be sending at least 10 samples every month to CARPHA so that they can help us with the genetic sequencing. We are also exploring a possibility through PAHO to send samples to the US for the Centre for Disease Control to assist us to do sequencing in the United States”.
With new coronavirus cases rising steadily, Guyana is also continuing its efforts to secure more vaccines to guard against the virus. Through the COVAX initiative, which falls under the United Nations, the country is likely to receive 100,000 doses of the vaccines within the next few weeks.
The majority of the doses will go first to frontline health workers and elderly citizens.