Chief Executive Officer of the National Covid-19 Task Force (NCTF), Joseph Harmon, has dismissed rumours of a complete lockdown of Guyana and is urging Guyanese to stop panic buying.
Since mid-March, curfew and partial lockdown measures were announced to curb the spread of Covid-19 among the population.
However, with Guyana’s cases raising almost daily to about 150 including 12 deaths as of today, there were talks of a national shutdown.
But Harmon said today (Saturday, May 30, 2020) that they are only considering an extension of the current measures, which will expire on June 3, and not a complete lockdown as being rumored.
“There is a rumour out there that there is going to be a complete lockdown in Guyana from next week… I want to make this very clear that the National [COVID-19] Task Force has not considered a national lockdown,” the CEO of the Task Force asserted during a virtual update this morning.
According to Harmon, these reports have caused many persons to panic buy.
Most concerning is the fact that this has resulted in the crowding of markets and other shopping locations.
With no lockdown envisioned, the NCTF CEO is urging persons to desist from doing so and practice social distancing.
“This rumour is forcing people to do panic-buying and it’s creating unnecessary crowds in our market places and in places where people have to shop… I, therefore, call on all Guyanese to observe the guidelines of social distancing, washing of hands, wearing of masks in public, and particularly, to what is gazetted in the orders as essential services,” he stated.
This comes on the heels of Georgetown Mayor, Ubraj Naraine, earlier this week calling for three weeks’ notice ahead of any national shutdown so that the city affairs can be put in order.
However, the clarity by Harmon on the issue of a complete lockdown is also in the face of stakeholders in the private sector recently lamenting the fact that civil society is not represented on the National Task Force at a policy-making level.