Granger hands blank cheque to Ministries in COVID-19 fight

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Head of State, David Granger has written a ‘blank cheque’ for the Health, Education and Citizenship Ministries in order to meet expenditure related to meeting the demands of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The move comes under an Executive Order issued by the President under the Public Health Ordinance and was signed by the President on Monday.

According to the order, the Finance Minister shall expend from the Consolidated Fund such sums of money as may be necessary for the effectual carrying out identified measures to be undertaken by the various Ministries.

The order, which has since been gazette, states that the “President considers that immediate action is necessary to address COVID-19 and declares COVID-19 as an infectious disease” warranting the special orders.

According to the Official Gazette, under the order, the Public Health Ministry shall take measures to “restrain, segregate and isolate persons suffering from the disease, or who may be likely from exposure to the infection suffer from the disease.”

Additionally, the Public Health Ministry shall speedily bury or cremate the corpse of persons that died as a result of the coronavirus in addition to providing curative care.

It said too that the Public Health Minister may “remove, disinfect, and destroy the personal effects, goods, buildings and any other article, material or thing exposed to infection from the disease”.

The Minister has also been empowered to prohibit or restrict the movement of persons within, to and from an infected area.

The order also empowers the Minister to call on the Guyana Police Force to provide enforcement assistance, as it relates to its duties under the Order.

The order has also called on the Ministries of Education and Health to take measures to control the spread of COVID-19 across educational institutions and with respect immigration matters.

The order has since also directed that “all Government agencies and Local Government authorities are urged to render assistance and cooperation to undertake critical, urgent, and appropriate response and measures in a timely manner to curtail and eliminate the COVID-19 threat.”

Additionally, it encouraged all citizens, residents, tourists, and members of the Private Sector to “act in accordance with the law and to comply with any lawful directives and advisories issued by appropriate Government agencies to prevent further transmission of the COVID-19 and ensure the safety and well-being of all.

The Executive Order is to remain in force until withdrawn by the President.