Increased monitoring in Region 9 as Brazil’s Covid cases surge

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The Government has increased its monitoring of the Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), as neighbouring Brazil continues to see an upsurge in COVID-19 cases.

Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony, said Operation COVICURB surveillance has increased along the border to curb transmission of the disease.

“They have strengthened, they have been monitoring the border very actively to prevent persons who might want to go across or come across from Brazil. So, as much as possible, that’s what we are trying to do – to prevent people from coming over or going over.

“Of course, this can be very challenging because of the extent of the land border, but as much as possible, that is what the joint services are, right now, trying to do,” he said.

While the border remains closed, the check point at Takutu Bridge is opened on Thursdays to allow the exchange of goods and services.

Region Nine’s COVID-19 testing capacity has also been boosted, with the recent installation of a GeneXpert machine, which is similar to the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machine and more sensitive than the antigen test. This will allow the Region to process COVID-19 tests faster.

“So, they have a GeneXpert machine, they’re able to test locally. We have given them the cartridges to make sure that they’re able to do that, and if they have samples that they still want to send to Georgetown, then we can take those samples and process the samples. So, this is how we are monitoring,” he said.

While Guyana’s border with Brazil remains closed, the country’s eastern border with Suriname is opened. The ferry service is only operable for citizens of Guyana and Suriname, and upon entry, persons must produce a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to their arrival.