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Lethem on High Alert as Coronavirus Hits Border Town

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Article first published: 25th March, 2020

Last updated: March 25, 2020 at 9:32 am

The small isolated town of Lethem to the south of Guyana, South America is now in a state of high alert as the highly contagious coronavirus creeps closer to home.

A few days ago, there were absolutely no coronavirus cases within a 100 miles radius of Lethem. All of that changed after Boa Vista reported its first two confirmed cases of coronavirus. It was reported by Brazilian media on the 21st of March 2020 that a couple who had returned from Sao Paulo tested positive for the virus. A few days later, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases blew up to 8 – with dozens more being suspected and monitored. Boa Vista is located about 100 miles or two hours’ drive from Lethem.

As of two days ago, the authorities had implemented a total lockdown of all border crossing between Lethem and Brazil – it is strictly prohibited.

But it doesn’t stop there. The deadly coronavirus has once again reared its ugly head against the residents of the Rupununi. It was reported this morning (25th of March, 2020) that there is at least 1 confirmed case of coronavirus in Bonfim, Brazil. Bonfim is the Brazilian municipality which forms the border with Lethem. It is literally two steps away from Lethem. And for a small town with limited doctors and limited medical facilities as Lethem – that is certainly frighteningly close.

The residents of Lethem have already started implementing all measures they know that could prevent the coronavirus. These include wearing masks, frequent washing and sanitizing of hands, social distancing and much more. All of the 25 + Chinese stores are closed to business as of about 1 week ago. However, local supermarkets and some restaurants are still working.

Some of the residents of Lethem are presently discussing the use of herbal medicine which may have antiviral properties, such as certain types of bush tea known to the indigenous peoples.

Related: Coronavirus Report by Country

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Sandra Roth Nogueira

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Total isolation. Stock up and stay home!