President says finding the right balance remains paramount as Guyana reopens airports

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President Irfaan Ali

President Dr. Irfaan Ali, while endorsing the reopening of the country’s two International Airports, the Cheddi Jagan International Airport and the Eugene F. Correia International Airport, to commercial operations, implored citizens to follow the protocols in place to curb the spread of the virus.

In a recent statement, the Head of State expressed confidence in the advice provided by the relevant authorities that Guyana is “fully prepared and ready to operate in a manner which will ensure the safety of all who work there and pass through them.”

The head of State emphasised too, that while everything is being done within means and with the assistance of the international community to bring the virus under control, it is as equally important to keep the economy functioning and growing.

On this note, the Head of State reiterated the importance of striking a balance between medical and socio-economic aspects of reopening the economy.

“We have recently seen new studies showing that lockdown may not be the best way. What we have to do as leaders is to find the right balance and ensure that coming out of the pandemic, we do not head into severe economic recession.

“We already have a situation where the economy has been affected tremendously. What we are doing is basically trying to find the balance while operating, managing and living in COVID environment. We have to also ensure that we develop strong protocols and guidelines and to have persons follow, stringently, those guidelines, so that these can be the buffer that gives us an opportunity to rebalance the way we deal with this, from a medical as well as a socio-economic perspective,” the President explained.

The decision to reopen the country’s airports was made just as the World Health Organisation (WHO) called for world leaders to stop locking down their countries and economies as the primary means of control of this virus.

During an emergency multi-stakeholder meeting in August, the President assured that any decision taken to reopen the airports would only be made after careful consideration of all of the factors.

President Ali continues to engage with world leaders with regards to collaboration and support to enhancing Guyana’s response to the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Measures discussed include enhancing Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing capacity and the provision of equipment and vaccines.

Guyana’s fight against the spread of the COVID-19 has been bolstered by an increase in testing and contact-tracing, in addition to a strong sensitisation and education campaign. (Excerpts taken from the Office of the President)