PAHO projects over 10,000 COVID-19 cases in Guyana if lockdown lifted on June 3

Dr William Adu-Krow

By: Rupa Seenaraine

Country Representative of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Dr William Adu-Krow has cautioned against completely lifting the current lockdown measures, as cases are projected to rise significantly.

The current lockdown measures will expire on June 3 and authorities are yet to announce whether it will be extended or lift. But there are already talks about implementing a phased reopening of the country’s international airports.

But Dr Adu-Krow said: “If we lift everything on June 3, we are likely by July 15 to see 10,777 cases. That’s if we lift everything. If we go by a phased approach, the number goes down.”

He noted that PAHO has already made some recommendations to the Government.

The PAHO Representative also lamented that while Guyana has adequate mechanisms to safeguard the population, these measures are being disregarded.

“The rule says nobody can go out unless it’s for an essential purpose or the person belongs to an essential group of persons…That’s not what’s happening…We better take it seriously…The only thing I would say is that we have to be careful…when they did the assessment in the whole Latin America and the Caribbean, it was realized that our measures are about 74 per cent in target, so it’s quite high. The problem that we have is that we are not enforcing them,” Dr Adu-Krow expressed.

Enforcement of these national guidelines, he noted, also needs urgent attention.

The PAHO representative advised that the lockdown should continue at least for another two weeks.

“We have measures, if enforced, could take us a long way. If not enforced, then we are likely to have problems. If I had my own way, I’d probably extend the measures for about two weeks and then enforce them; and them begin a phased approach. That would be my recommendation. It is up to government to decide.”

As of yesterday, Guyana recorded 150 COVID-19 cases, an increase of 11 in just 24 hours.