Region 9, Guyana, South America, stands a good chance of successfully braving the coronavirus pandemic if authorities act now to restrict travel from Georgetown.
The border with Brazil is already closed and is being monitored, preventing the likelihood of infections crossing from Brazil to Lethem. The next step is to close the Kurupakari Crossing and prevent buses from coming from Georgetown to Lethem, and also restrict flights from Ogle.
There are already 8 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Georgetown and along the coasts – that was reported by the Ministry of Health. There is a possibility that there are much more unreported, that are going undetected or that are in the incubation period.
If the coronavirus reaches Lethem, it will cripple the Region’s already overloaded healthcare system. Locked out from the rest of the world with very limited medical supplies, Lethem would be forced to reopen its border with Brazil to seek medical assistance in Brazil, or risk facing a medical disaster.
The reopening of the Brazil border would put Region 9 residents and Guyanese in general at a much greater risk. Then there is the question of whether Brazil would allow residents of Lethem to cross over for medical help – seeing that it has already shut the border with Venezuela citing overload of its healthcare system.
Given all of the above, it would be prudent for the authorities of Region 9 to push for the closure of the Kurupukari Crossing and also restrict flights coming from Ogle – except in cases of emergency. Of course, this would come as a bit of an inconvenience for many people. And I personally would miss my Cadbury chocolates which are already out of stock in Lethem. But it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for humanity.
Think about it, if all those borders had been closed two months earlier than they did, and if all those airlines had shut down two months earlier, we would have had a much better chance of eradicating the coronavirus.
Remember, the coronavirus is a deadly and highly contagious disease. Let’s not wait for something to happen. Let’s close off all borders with Region 9 now.