GUYANA: Omicron variant cases hurt the private sector

Chairman of the Private Sector Commission Paul Cheong.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana– The Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus has been ravaging the private sector with some businesses on the verge of closing as more of their employees contract the virus, chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Paul Cheong, has warned.

The business leader said with more workers contracting the virus, output in the private sector is being impacted.

“Many small businesses would soon have to close their doors because they don’t have sufficient people to work. I know some services had to cut some of their business lines because they didn’t have sufficient people to work on all the lines, and it’s right across,” Cheong said.

He, therefore, urged Guyanese to take the virus very seriously and adhere to the established protocols, get vaccinated and take booster shots.

“COVID is something severe, and it’s life-threatening, and we have seen that we have been with COVID for more than two years now, and we have seen that we know how it’s operating, and we know the effects it’s having on lives. So, I want to use this opportunity to encourage every single person who has not been vaccinated to get vaccinated,” Cheong said.

The Omicron variant is highly transmissible, so all protective measures need to be taken.

“We don’t want to lose our employees that we have trained, and the service, the quality of service when you have two or three persons having to do ten persons’ job. It is a lot of pressure on those persons, so it’s affecting everyone, those who contract it and those who didn’t,” the PSC head said.

“I think what happened here opened a lot of people’s eyes because I think we get complacent. We took things for granted, and so this is everybody’s business; it’s not one individual, it’s not the Ministry of Health alone. Every single Guyanese need to pull their weight in terms of protecting themselves and doing their part,” he added.

On Wednesday, Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony recommended that proper ventilation, screening of employees entering the office, and ensuring persons are vaccinated or have taken the booster shots are ways offices could help keep the virus at bay.

He urged people not to become complacent in the workplace and be lax with the COVID-19 protocols.

“People, because they are familiar with each other in the workplace, they tend to remove their mask, so they are not wearing a mask in the workplace, and therefore they can get infected because they don’t know where their co-worker may have been and whether that co-worker would have been exposed,” Minister Anthony pointed out.


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