Several deportees from the United States arrived in Belize today on the repatriation flights that landed at the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA). While information is scarce on the deportees we can tell you that the flight came in from Louisiana and had the twenty-seven deportees along with several repatriates. All passengers had to undergo the screening system in place at the airport which according to Dr Marvin Manzanero was a trial run of sorts for the health officials there.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “We had what we call a test run and maybe that’s the wrong word but we used it as a test run last week Friday in terms of trying to see how the process flow was going to be, not that we were trying to find our way in terms of we knew what the process was going to be, we wanted to do the timing and all of that with all the relevant entities. We have two flights as I understand it tomorrow but the United Airlines flight is the one that we are concentrating on to look at the process flow again and modify your processes to make it smoother for when the airport opens. We understand that on the 1st of October there is one flight scheduled to arrive and on the 2nd of October it might be much more challenging because you have two flights and I believe both flights are full, on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday is when two flights are going to be coming so you have to prepare for that we’ll see how the test run happens tomorrow. The team from Central Health Region and there’s a team from Headquarters going as well.”
Reporter: In terms of PPEs, in terms of testing kits, in terms of the system of how things will be carried out once the airport opens all of that is in place already ?
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “It changes. As we move along you find out there are things we need to tweak. Going back what the region is doing you can look at the example of Guatemala for example they had open their airport one week ago and in the first three days they had close to two thousand people arrive and then one of their requirements is that you need to bring a PCR into the country. notwithstanding that 10% of their arrivals had no PCR when they arrived in Guatemala so you again have to go back how do you do, where do you from there? If they are returning Guatemalans, in this case returning Belizeans you can’t put them back on a flight you have to find a mechanism to make sure it works so it’s the same thing here. So I’m sure that after tomorrow’s run we’ll go back and revisit the SOP and I’m sure that come October 2nd when we have two full flights you have to be prepared with your plan B,C,D as you move along.”
According to Dr Manzanero the ministry is looking at all angles and are tweaking the process in time for the reopening of the airport on Thursday, October 1.