Reports of a Belize Defence Force soldier that had to be quarantined were circulating on social media. Some reports took it so far as to say that the soldier had passed away due to COVID-19. However, according to Commander of the BDF, Brigadier General Steven Ortega, there were some soldiers under quarantine but they have since been tested. He also mentioned that there are protocols established in the event that a BDF soldier is infected by COVID-19.
Brigadier General Steven Ortega, Commander of the BDF: “We have a protocol concerning people who display signs and symptoms and the soldier was displaying signs and symptoms so we had to isolate the entire team that he was working with, that’s the entire eighteen guys, and we took him in for testing and he was swabbed and it proved negative so all the guys who were isolated are back working but should there be a case we actually have isolation buildings or centers at each one of the camps and the Ministry has a general one at the police training school in Belmopan should the ones at the sites not be sufficient or capable of isolating that person for any period of time. As you know this is the time for flu so the doctor had advised us previously that there will be quite a few soldiers displaying flu like symptoms and so we normally isolate them during that time, get them tested and when it’s negative they’re back to work.”
On Sunday, police formally arrested and charged 36-year-old Jose Luis Espat for Spreading False News about the BDF Soldier. According to a police report, Espat made a social media post that stated, “I was some days ago sent a message by a BDF soldier but had not gotten confirmation, today another BDF soldier contacted me and confirmed that there was allegedly an initial one BDF and then later and additional eighteen BDF soldiers from LEC that were suspected of having COVID-19. I was told today that allegedly the initial soldier suspected of COVID-19 died and there are eighteen more on Isolation.”