Daily Brief - Monday 3rd January, 2022


How will pandemic end? Omicron clouds forecasts for endgame

Pandemics do eventually end, even if omicron is complicating the question of when this one will. But it won’t be like flipping a light switch: The world will have to learn to coexist with a virus that’s not going away. The ultra-contagious omicron mutant is pushing cases to all-time highs and causing chaos as an exhausted world struggles, again, to stem the spread. But this time, we’re not starting from scratch. Vaccines offer strong protection from serious illness, even if they don’t always prevent a mild infection. Omicron doesn’t appear to be as deadly as some earlier variants. And those who survive it will have some refreshed protection against other forms of the virus that still are circulating — and maybe the next mutant to emerge, too. Read more here

Lopinot/Bon Air West constituents: Gonzales better than previous MPs but can do more

The general feeling among a handful of constituents of Lopinot/Bon Air West MP Marvin Gonzales was that the Minister of Public Utilities was often heard to be around various parts of the constituency, but they needed help to fix a local drain, although this was not under the MP's remit but that of the local council. Newsday met residents of Lopinot Road on Sunday. Read more here



Al-Rawi: Unions yet to provide alternative to Government's vaxx policy

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi is again calling on the trade union movement to provide recommendations or alternatives to its impending vaccination policy for public servants. Asked for an update on Sunday, Al-Rawi said he did not receive the letter the Joint Trade Union Movement’s (JTUM) general secretary Ozzi Warwick sent to him last Thursday. The trade union and Al-Rawi met last month to discuss the policy. In December, the Prime Minister announced that all public servants and employees at state agencies, come mid-January, will be required to be vaccinated to go to work or choose to stay home without pay. Read more here

Minister: Almost 200,000 citizens received COVID assistance

The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services has spent a staggering $358 million to assist citizens affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the last two years. Providing the figure was Social Development and Family Services Minister Donna Cox who stated that these temporary financial measures have provided a robust safety net to many who were either retrenched, terminated or experienced a reduced income during the lockdown restrictions in 2020 and 2021. Even though Cox has delivered a number of social support mechanisms to cushion the repercussions of the lingering virus, she believes more can be done to help the vulnerable in society and her ministry can learn from its mistakes. Read more here



Look at alternatives, says business group

The Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CCIC) has suggested that National Flour Mills (NFM) look at alternatives to wheat. “In this way prices can be stabilised so as to not hurt the most vulnerable in society. One viable alternative might be cassava. Indeed, Carib (Brewery) announced some time ago that it would tap into the potential of cassava as a main ingredient for its beers, as this would eventually create space to save and earn more foreign exchange. We hope that NFM would be able to look at an innovative solution such as this,” the Chamber stated in its New Year message. Read more here



Over $7.5B in COVID-19 cash grants disbursed to households countrywide

Of all the financial incentives given to Guyanese over the past 16 months, government has expended in excess of $7.5 billion on the distribution of the COVID-19 cash grants alone. Once completed, this programme is expected to see each household in Guyana benefiting from a one-off grant valued at $25,000. In his official New Year’s message to the nation, President Dr. Irfaan Ali indicated that, under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration, each of the 10 Administrative Regions have benefitted from the programme, “…injecting critical liquidity into the economy and providing a cash lifeline to households, so many of which were thrown into distress as a result of the pandemic.” Read more here



Bulli Bai: India app that put Muslim women up for sale is shut

Police in two Indian states have registered cases after an app shared photos of more than 100 Muslim women saying they were on "sale". The accused include developers of the app and Twitter handles that shared the images and content. The open source app - Bulli Bai - was hosted on web platform GitHub, which has since taken it down. This was the second attempt in months to harass Muslim women in India by "auctioning" them online. In July, an app and website called "Sulli Deals" created profiles of more than 80 Muslim women - using photos they uploaded online - and described them as "deals of the day". Read more here

3rd January 2022


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