Going from the experience of Italy, USA, and other countries, some kind of a lockdown (businesses and social functions) seems an appropriate response to curtail the spread of the dreaded Corona virus. It is the only way to mitigate the spiraling spread of this Corona virus and to protect unnecessary loss of lives. As we learn from experience in the US, Canada, Trinidad, India, etc., the virus is transmitted by and spread through person to person contact. Thus, it makes sense to limit personal contacts.
Scientists say that the virus pandemic will be at its peak in two weeks in the US and perhaps countries south. It is therefore wise to limit contact over the next two weeks. As a precaution, I read that the virus dies in sunlight. So exposure to the sun is good to kill the virus on outer garments and body. But if someone has the virus, transmission takes place through close contact. Thus, social distancing of at least six feet is advised to thwart the virus coming into contact with another person. It is advised that there be regular washing of hands with soap and the face. Blowing the face, nostril area, with hot air is also advised to kill the virus that may linger on the face or inside the nostril. Drinking hot liquid is also recommended. And consuming food high in PH value is advised.
Separately, pertaining to quarantining recently arrived passengers at an isolated camp or location, such a stringent measure is only advised if the passengers show signs of having the virus. Passengers who recently landed in Guyana were quarantined at Camp Madewini and Balandra. Several don’t have the virus. Out of precaution, they were sent to a camp for two weeks. In Guyana, initially, families were told they were kept in an unknown location so that they would not be in contact with relatives to prevent the risk of exposure to the corona virus; since they were not tested, it is not known if they have the virus.
We learn subsequently in Guyana via a letter in the newspaper that they are kept in unhealthy (exposure to virus), unhygienic, and unsanitary conditions. They are clustered in a confined space putting them at high risk of being contaminated by anyone who may have the virus or some other ailment. There are not adequate or proper food and liquid supplies. They seem worse off in Guyana than from where they came. The conditions under which they are kept seem to be a violation of the conditions of the World Health Organization (WHO). They must be treated ‘humanely’.
Some of these passengers took special flights to get home to avoid being exposed to the virus where they were stranded. The health ministry (or government) should have informed them ahead of time of the conditions under which they would be kept. Such information would have enabled them to make a decision on whether to stay in place overseas or return home to be treated worse.What the health authorities should have done, which is standard practice elsewhere, was to check the temperature of each passenger on arrival. If normal, they should be advised to follow home quarantine conditions as is done in every country. If there is reason to believe that a passenger is a health risk, then the passenger should be quarantined. But the passenger must be kept in isolation, quickly tested, and offered medical services. If test is negative for corona, passenger should be released to home quarantine. Such commonsensical procedure would ease the burden of the state as well as better protect the health of the passengers and their families.
The act of quarantining every passenger (and without a test) should be revisited as there are bound to be serious health hazards to them and to the population at large. And all passengers should be quarantined according to the standards prescribed by the World Health Organization. They can undergo self-isolation at home. Many with the virus underwent self-isolation and recovered. Guyana could find itself being denied of WHO funds if it fails to follow protocols.