GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC – President Donald Ramotar says he will approach all parliamentary political parties as well as civil society in a national response as the country prepares to protect its citizens from a possible outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus that has killed nearly 5,000 people in West Africa.
In a radio and television broadcast on Friday night, Ramotar said that the Ebola epidemic had become “a matter of great significance to Guyana” and that he was seeking “maximum cooperation on this urgent m
“I shall be formally inviting the Leader of the Opposition and the leaders of all Parliamentary Political Parties and civil society to join forces with the government in a national response to prepare and protect our people from the deadly Ebola disease,” he said.
Guyana, like other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, has placed a ban on travellers from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone entering the country and President Ramotar said despite the action he was extending the country’s “profound concern and solidarity with the governments and people” of the three West African countries.
Ramotar said that the international community “is only now in the process of providing assistance to combat this disease and to stop its spread” and that Guyana “in its own small way, has joined those efforts to muster resources to assist these countries in halting its spread.
“However, despite this we have seen it crossing continents into Europe and the United States of America.
In the world that we live in today in which globalization has spawned the most massive movement of people in history, no country is guaranteed that it would not be affected.”
He said Guyana must also adopt preventative and curative measures to protect nationals from the virus for which there is no known cure.
“ If, per chance, this disease reaches our shores we must be prepared to limit its effect to contain and bring it under control as fast as possible,” he said, noting that apart from the travel ban “we are also advising our citizens to avoid travelling to those destinations for the time being, but if they must, they must declare if they have visited any of those countries affected by Ebola, or, countries that are at risk in West Africa.
“We have stepped up surveillance at ports of entry. Passengers arriving in Guyana are being more thoroughly screened at these ports,” he said, adding that modern equipment is being used and more is being acquired to raise the effectiveness of this exercise.
“The government has been, and will be acquiring additional medical supplies including more protective gear, gloves etc in order to be better prepared. Retention centres are being identified and established for quarantine and monitoring of suspected cases”.
He said that in the event of the discovery of suspected cases, the public health responses have already been organised.