Lethem to close Takutu Bridge over COVID-19 fears

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As Guyana continue to take measures to protect itself from the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Lethem Town Council is putting measures in place to protect its residents by restricting the Takutu Bridge.

This was revealed by Deputy Mayor, Debra King during a telephone interview with this publication on Tuesday noting that the move is important in an effort to protect Guyana from any additional cases of COVID-19.

This came as a result of the Commercial Zone in the Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Essequibo) township completely shutting down on Tuesday over COVID-19 fears.

With Lethem’s Commercial Zone closed, residents in the town as well as surrounding villages are complaining of being affected. They have reported that many of them are now left without an income to maintain themselves and family.

The COVID-19 precautions have also led to the cancellation of a number of events in the country including the Rupununi Rodeo. Several countries have also taken the decision to shut down their borders in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.

Lethem sits on Guyana’s border with Brazil. Thus far, Brazil’s Health Ministry said that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country has reached 234, up by 34 from Sunday. Cases are found in most states. Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the first and third most populated states, have seen sustained transmission.

Deputy Mayor, King, told the this publication that the Town is concerned over the virus and its effect on the economy. She said that, thus far, they have been having discussions as it relates to closing of the Takutu Bridge so as to prevent Brazilians from venturing into Guyana and Guyanese into Brazil.

“We had a discussion yesterday (Monday) pertaining to closing the border. All the schools in Bonfim (Brazil) are closed so most people from Lethem would to school there and now the schools are closed they have eased up. All the Chinese (stores) also closed down so the Brazilians are not coming over so much and we are hoping to close the bridge sometime this week,” she said.

“This thing is scary for us and we in Lethem have been reading up on it. We don’t have any case here for now but everyone afraid. We don’t know why the Chinese (stores) closed up and we hope it is not because of we getting a case here in Lethem,” King added.