The Guyana government on Friday announced a series of new measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) including unvaccinated persons now being required to make an appointment to visit and transact business at any government ministry or agency.
Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony is also encouraging the public to make use of the 100 fixed vaccination sites to inoculate themselves against the virus as the country moves towards achieving herd immunity.
“Our capacity to do vaccination is great, so with 100 sites operating roughly with about 200 or so vaccines at each one of these sites per day, we can do so much more. But the sites are being underutilized because people are not coming.
“So, if we want to really reach herd immunity quick, we can do so because we have the capacity to do the vaccinations. We have people on the ground working, what we need people to come forward and get their vaccines,” Dr. Anthony said during Friday’s COVID-19 update.
He said that an average of 3,000 people is receiving a COVID-19 vaccine per day and that Guyana has many more strides to make before it reaches herd immunity.
“So far, we only have about half of our population, who would have taken the first dose and about 28 percent or so who have the second dose. So, we still have a far way to go to get to herd immunity. We are pegging herd immunity around 85 percent of our population, and we are very far away from that.”
Meanwhile, even as the government has indicated relaxing some of the gazetted COVID-19 measures, it has announced that unvaccinated persons must make an appointment to visit any government agency or ministry.
“A member of the public who wishes to enter a ministry or government agency to access service shall be vaccinated. Where a member of the public is unvaccinated, that person may only access the service in person by appointment,” according to the gazetted regulation.
“Each ministry or agency would be responsible for putting in place their arrangements to allow for compliance with the new rules.”
It notes also that cinemas, betting shops and casinos can reopen at 40 percent capacity.
In addition, all operators and conductors of public transportation must be vaccinated and have their vaccination card with them.
The operators of public transportation, such as minibus operators, taxi drivers, and speedboat operators, will now be required to be fully vaccinated in order to continue to operate.
The government said that the new regulations go into effect from Saturday, August 1.
The new gazette rule, signed by Dr Anthony states: “every operator and conductor of any transportation service shall be vaccinated and have in their possession an official identifications document and their vaccination card and shall produce these documents when requested to so by a Police officer or any person authorized by the Minister of Health.”
The operators and conductors will also be responsible for ensuring their passengers wear a face mask.
Persons who wish to attend any cinema, betting shop and casino must show the card indicating that they are fully vaccinated.
Children, or those who are under the age of 18, will not be required to show a vaccination card.
There shall be no concession stand at a cinema and patrons would be required to wear a face mask at all times.
Dr. Anthony said the public must continue to observe the preventative guidelines, particularly masking in public, practicing social distancing, and frequent hand washing/sanitizing.