Only vaccinated persons can now access public buildings

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Guyana’s COVID-19 death toll has gone up to 641 after another person who tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) died.

In light of this, Measures (No 21), which addressed the new policy regarding access to services provided by Government Ministries and agencies, has been replaced to now allow only vaccinated persons to access any public buildings.

Emergency Measures (No 22), which runs until September 30, 2021, and could be extended further, was gazetted late Saturday to replace the previous measures and outlines the new policies for entering any public building.

The new guidelines – measure No 17 – stipulate that, “…any persons who wishes to enter a public building shall be vaccinated.”

“Where a person is unvaccinated and wishes to enter a public building that person may only enter that building – (a) by appointment, and (b) by presenting a negative molecular biological PCR test result of a test taken within seven days of the appointment,” it continues to state.

Moreover, the negative PCR test requirement, which can only be obtained from laboratories approved by the Health Ministry, also applies to unvaccinated workers of any such public building.

According to this new measure, “public building” refers to any building to which the public has lawful access including both publicly and privately-owned buildings such as institutions of learning.

This new requirement comes in light of pushback by some sections including teachers and healthcare workers against the vaccination requirements imposed by Government to protect the population.

Health authorities have repeatedly pleaded with persons to get vaccinated since it protects against the worst effects of the deadly virus. In fact, it was reported that only two of the 640-plus persons who have died from COVID-19 to date were fully vaccinated. Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony said that these two vaccinated persons had “severe comorbidities” which led to their deaths.

But he noted that at least 98 per cent of patients that are being admitted at the Ocean View Hospital which houses the COVID-19 ICU are unvaccinated.

One senior medical official has indicated that in July, out of 56 patients admitted in the COVID ICU, 54 were unvaccinated. Similarly, in the month of August, 87 of the 92 ICU admissions at the COVID hospital were unvaccinated.