Belize is into its 5th week since the confirmation of its first COVID-19 patient on March 23. The first patient is a 38-year-old Belizean businesswoman of Ambergris Caye. Yesterday we told you of reports of her now testing negative for the virus and today, the Director of Health Services, Dr. Marvin Manzanero has confirmed it.
Tonight the good news is that Belize seems to have the COVID-19 spread under control. The update from the Ministry of Health, however, indicates that we may be looking at a year and a half of practicing social distancing. It does not mean that the State of Emergency will be extended that long but precautions will have to remain in place.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “Understand that as we consider or in the back of our minds how we’re going to go back reopening if we don’t have any case in the week whatever that means the issues we currently have will remain. You have to assume that anybody you meet on the street is a COVID-19 patient, social distancing will be there six feet if possible, if you are ill you should not be on the street, hand washing is going to remain forever, avoid touching your face is going to remain because we don’t have a vaccine we don’t have treatment so this is at least for the next eighteen months so if that’s going to be for the next eighteen months then that becomes the new norm.”
As the COVID-19 testing continues, the Director of Health Services is appealing to the public and the media to be sensitive to what they post and to wait for official reports on the tests.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “We’ll be providing information as it comes along. I really would want to continue to stress to all to wait for the official information that’s going to come from us in a timely manner. I know that Sunday we got caught up in this particular case of the situation at Karl Heusner and my point of view that patient seemed to be having conditions related to the spinal lesion that he had and that’s a personal viewpoint as an internist but then I did not realize that there were a lot of situations brewing up on social media because of what had been posted prior. We cannot also be jumping to everything that pops up on social media because we have to be very responsible in the information I’m going to be able to give you. So we didn’t post anything until Sunday because once the sample was collected it has to go through the process of being tested and once we get a result we put it out for everybody to see, review as soon as we get it. So please let’s continue to wait for official sources of information, even if we have recovered case I mean that’s a positive yes but we have to wait for the official source and the official channels and by all rights the patient is the first one that needs to be informed it cannot be that everybody starts socializing whatever they think is happening when you’re not informing the patient through the due process.”
As a recap, to date, Belize has had eighteen confirmed cases of COVID-19. Two of those patients lost their fight due to underlying conditions; one has recovered and the fifteen others are in self-quarantine displaying minimal symptoms of the virus.