GMI remains closed until “certain requirements are met” – EPA

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  • affected miners to travel to China today

Regional Health Officials on Saturday held a public meeting with residents of Matthews Ridge, North West District (NWD), to update them on the current health crisis facing the Guyana Manganese Inc (GMI) workers who fell ill while working in a tunnel in the area.

Present at the meeting were the region’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Karen Boyle, Regional Health Officer Dr Cerdel Mc Watt and representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

It was reported that the patients are being treated and are responding to antibiotic and anti-fungal medicines and results from samples that were sent overseas for further evaluation are scheduled to be returned today.

The quarantine area at the GPHC

Meanwhile, officials are making it clear that only Chinese workers that worked in the tunnel are affected by this illness and no other residents of that or neighbouring villages have been infected. Further, GMI mining operations will remain closed until certain requirements are met and the company is given the green light by the EPA to resume operations.

Another meeting is scheduled for today in the region and the Chief Medical Officer and two Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) representatives are expected to be in attendance.

Reports are that Chinese miners presently being treated at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) are expected to leave for China today.

A well-placed source at the GPHC told Inews that doctors are of the view that the miners are not infected with Leptospirosis and their symptoms are similar to those of H1N1, however, efforts to obtain a confirmation from the Chief Medical Officer on Sunday were unsuccessful.

Residents of Matthews Ridge on Friday had expressed concerns over the health risks involved and are furious that health officials are not disclosing information as to the seriousness of the situation.

The workers boarding a flight to Georgetown

“Every time I see them nurse and ask about it, they keep telling me we can’t talk we ain’t want get in trouble,” one resident told this newspaper on Friday.

Several residents who reached out to this newspaper on Friday said that it is time that the health authorities speak to persons living in the area since they are very worried about the situation.

Another Chinese miner died on Wednesday at the Georgetown Public Hospital while several others who were brought out from the mining camp remain patients.

Chief Medical Officer of the GPHC, Dr Shamdeo Persaud, when contacted by this newspaper on Friday, said tests are still being conducted even as they await results from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) about a possible diagnosis for the patients who did not test positive for Leptospirosis. “When the results come back, whatever they are, we will disclose,” he said. He could not say when the results will return.

Meanwhile, the Ministry’s statement on Thursday confirmed that the miners died from complications associated with Leptospirosis while undergoing treatment at the GPHC.

It also said that two of those patients have since been discharged after successful treatment.

Dr Shamdeo Persaud has iterated that all precautionary measures are still in place at the Matthews Ridge tunnel site and its immediate surroundings, adding that essential medical supplies are in stock to treat employees of the mining firm and residents of the area.

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