COVID-19: 322 Guyanese returned home on Friday June 19, 2020 from NYC and Caribbean

─ brought home aboard Eastern and Caribbean Airlines  

Friday afternoon saw the single largest arrival of Guyanese at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).

The diverse group of 322 citizens who were stranded in Trinidad and Barbados, returned home aboard two flights from Eastern and Caribbean Airlines. Here are some comments from passengers.

All passengers have been screened by the health authorities and must observe a seven day quarantine.

Peter Hopkinson arrived on the Caribbean Airlines flight that touched down at 12:30pm from Trinidad. Though a resident in the Twin-island Republic, Hopkinson’s journey home was vital since his 90-year old father had recently passed away in Guyana.

“My mom is suffering. She has known him for 80 years. So, I came back to be with her, to make sure she’s okay,” he told the Department of Public Information (DPI).

In light of the COVID-19 guidelines and the 7-day quarantine that all returning passengers have to observe, Hopkinson said he will have limited physical interaction with his mother until given the all-clear at the end of the quarantine.

“We are here, just from the efforts of the Guyanese government. So, it is a service provided by them. Therefore, we have to make sure we follow their guidelines. It is very important,” he continued.

Another citizen, Levi Holmes, after making his way through the sanitisation, temperature screening and personal information-sharing sections at CJIA said he was stranded in Barbados for four months after merely travelling for a two-week Indigenous trade show.

While crediting the support his Barbadian friends provided during the lockdown of Guyana’s airports, Levi listed a few steps he will take to be safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I will try my best to stay much at home and to be out of the heavy traffic,” Levi added.

After 3 months stranded at sea, cruise ship worker returns home

DPI, Guyana, Friday, June 19, 2020

Nickali Alfred

Among a group of 322 Guyanese a cruise ship worker has returned to Guyana on Friday after being stuck at sea for 3 months after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the country’s airports to be closed to international travel.

“It was a very rough experience being at sea and stranded […] It was sometimes challenging,” Nickali Alfred told DPI. The young man is one of the approximately 133 cruise ship employees that engaged the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF) for controlled re-entry to Guyana.

Still cheerful despite his ordeal, Nickali said, “you got to thank God for every experience so that whenever something like this comes around again, we know how to handle it better.”

Anxious to reunite with his family, he thanked the NCTF for granting him the opportunity to be back in Guyana at this time. “I just want to say thumbs up to our government for allowing us to come home. We really appreciate it very much.”

Though finally away from the cruise ship, Nickali still empathised with his colleagues that are still on board the vessel he departed.

According to the cruise ship worker, “a lot of people are on board and they are just hoping to get home but some of their governments are giving them a very tough time.”

“I wish them good luck and I hope they get home safely,” Nickali added

While the emergency measures have been extended to July 2, the phased reopening of the country’s two main airports to international travel will continue. Part of the phased reopening includes the provision for limited repatriation flights.

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