[www.inewsguyana.com] – Following an article published by iNews yesterday that the Ministry of Health will not ban African nationals from entering the country despite the Ebola epidemic, Minister of Health, Dr Bheri Ramsaran announced late last night via an email that there are “stringent restrictions on entry to Guyana by persons who may pose a threat to the health of the Nation by the importation of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).”
He said this restriction is particularly aimed at nationals from West Africa.
The Health Minister did not go into details as to what those restrictions are, however, he noted that his Ministry has maintained vigilance since and will continue and expand as needed.
During a telephone interview with iNews yesterday (Wednesday, October 15), Dr Ramsaran assured that there is strong screening of persons coming into the country at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport and at other port of entries.
He told iNews that thus far there are no suspected Ebola cases in Guyana and that at least one person was turned back to Suriname at the Moleson Creek border.
According to the Health Minister, there is a multi ministry effort to ensure that the deadly virus does not make its way to Guyana, given the fact that his ministry does not have the ability to test or treat the virus.
This includes screening tents which will be established at the CJIA and according to Dr Ramsaran, he is investigating reports that there is no monitoring of the virus at the Ogle International Airport.
He explained that an area at the Georgetown Public Hospital is being set up to quarantine persons if there are any suspected cases, while over 100 doctors and nurses have already been trained on how to handle the virus.
The Health Ministry is also looking at a specific building at the West Demerara Regional Hospital to quarantine suspected cases.
St Vincent and the Grenadines has placed a ban on nationals from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Guinea entering the island, as Caribbean countries continue to put in place measures to deal with a possible outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the region.
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said that the measure was taken given the lack of infrastructure on the island to deal with the Ebola virus for which there is no known cure.
Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Guinea are the three West African countries most affected by the Ebola virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) says 4,447 people have died from the outbreak, mainly in West Africa.