It was after nine o’clock last night when the Director of Health Services broke the news of the third confirmed case. In a pre-recorded video, Dr. Manzanero explained the condition of the patient and the process is undertaken since Patient number three arrived in Belize from New York.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “The Ministry of Health is confirming its third case of COVID-19. Nine samples were screened, one of those samples has turned out to be positive for COVID-19. That sample is from a male person who has a travel history to the US who arrived in country on March 20th. The patient has been asymptomatic for the most part but developed mild signs and symptoms on March 25th. The patient was swabbed on March 27th and today the screening and confirmatory tests have confirmed that he is positive for COVID-19. That patient remains in self isolation and the Ministry of Health surveillance team has been activated and alerted to start conducting their mapping exercise. The male remains virtually asymptomatic and once we have further details we will be passing those as may be needed.”
With Belize now having three cases of COVID-19 and with residents in Belize being exposed to an imported case of the virus, the chances of an increase in cases is much higher as it would prove more challenging to quarantine the city as is being done with Ambergris Caye where Patient Zero and her infected mother resident. With the threat being even more imminent, Prime Minister Barrow in his address today indicated that we are COVID-19 ready.
Rt.Hon Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: Our local health team and the Ministry of Health are so plentifully resourced that we could theoretically reach the point of equipment oversupply. I hasten to add though that there can never really be too much. I’m just trying to underline the fact that we are completely prepared for the battle on the health front. So the Ministry of Health costed the requirements for a six month battle against COVID-19 at around $12 – $15 million Belize dollars. We already have on hand close to $20 million dollars and $13 million dollars more is arriving from the IDB in a matter of weeks. Therein though lies the beginnings of a possible problem. All the international financial institutions, perhaps understandably, are laser focused on the health front of this fight against COVID-19. As critical as that is though what I keep telling our international partners is that it is equally important for us to feed and clothe our people, for us to take care of those now out of work and livelihood unable to take care of themselves and their families. Government as you know is already borrowing $75 million dollars from the Central Bank but this s a drop in the bucket. It is my solemn promise to you however that we will get more. I am in no doubt that we will end up at least doubling that $75 million dollars. So there will be add-ons to the disbursement of money to our unemployed which disbursements start this week and will also initially utilize the contributions by BEL, BWSL and SSB. The additional funding that we will procure will augment the national ongoing BOOST initiative that also already puts cash in the hands of our people and we will expand countrywide, including to the rural areas the Ministry of Human Development’s all important Food Assistance Programs. Belizeans I say again that you are not alone. Together we will overcome and I swear by that all mighty God whom I ask now to bless us all that government, our national partnership and I personally will do everything to bring Belize as whole as possible out of this national and international nightmare.”