‘We’re assuming Covid variants are circulating here’ – Health Minister

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Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony has explained that while in the past the younger age groups were infected with a milder form of the disease, this is no longer the case as more hospitalisations and deaths are being recorded amongst these groups.

Dr Anthony attributed this to the presence of more deadly variants of the virus that have been discovered around the world and have possibly spread to local shores.

“From a clinical perspective, we suspect that this is what is happening,” he stated.

The Health Minister went on to note that while gene sequencing would have to be conducted to definitively confirm this, air travel between Guyana and other parts of the world has exposed the country to these newer and deadlier variants.

“While Delta (variant) was first discovered in India, it is now the dominant variant in the US and we have travel back and forth from the US on a daily basis. So, one can assume that we have different types of variants circulating in Guyana and would’ve contributed to the clinical picture that we’re seeing here. So not only do we have more deaths, we’re seeing more people being hospitalised during this period,” he posited.

To this end, the Minister reminded that none of the persons who died from COVID-19 so far were fully vaccinated against the virus. As such, he reiterated calls for persons to get immunised.

Further, Dr Anthony stated that conducting more gene sequencing, which is being done overseas, is not a priority at this time since the results would not change the response to or the treatment of the virus in Guyana, adding that citizens will still also have to take the same precautionary measures.