The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has received an estimated seven hundred applications from Belizeans who want to be repatriated. To date ninety eight persons have made it back home either via the airport, the northern border or the cruise ships. The issue with the repatriation process, however, is the cost that the applicant would have to cover which includes their transport to Belize as well as the quarantine cost. Some have proposed that they be allowed to self quarantine. It is an option that Dr Manzanero says is not being readily entertained.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “That quarantine is not necessarily going to work. We have seen it before. If you allow the five hundred people to land lets say this week and you allow them all to go home then that means that you need to have human resources at all levels not only health security to ensure that you are in point of fact keeping your quarantine at home. How do you assure yourself that the five hundred people are going to be staying put for two weeks ? That’s the real situation there. The only people we’re allowing to go and be quarantined is if you have a health condition but it must be a clear health condition or that you’re acutely ill if you are just telling us you are a diabetic or you are hypertensive or you have some other chronic disease but you are not acutely ill its’s something you can manage within a hotel facility then you’re going to be quarantined at a hotel. There must be substantive evidence that you are in point of fact acutely ill and I’m talking cancer patients, major surgery patient those people need to go home they can’t be in a hotel being quarantined.”
As an alternative to the hotel quarantine centres, the National Oversight Committee (NOC) has earmarked several public facilities around the country including sport stadiums and ITVET centres which would cost very little for those being quarantined.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “One of the solutions we had looked at from March is if you can’t quarantine in a hotel then you can be quarantined in public facilities in the north it’s at the ITVET, the Mexican building but it’s not going to have all the facilities or the amenities that you would want so that’s an option I guess but I don’t know that we would be in a position to be taking the responsibility for quarantining persons upon their return. I know some people who are trapped in the US are also asking if their flight ticket can be paid so that they can come back home. There’s many reasons why people are actually not coming back on the plane, some have decided that they are not going to come until that quarantine measure is taken out so they want to wait it out in the US until that process has been cleared but I’m not so sure that that’s going to happen any time soon.”
Reporter: What’s the price difference between lets say a hotel and the public facilities ?
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “Well the public facilities you’re not necessarily going to pay you might only have to look after your food because the facility is going to be open but you’re going to be able to sleep in a cot and have no privacy because there might be four five other males in the same area. Like at Victor Galvez Stadium at one point they had twenty two persons all males in one single area.”
Repatriation applications continue to be accepted via the website portal. Love News understands that additional persons were brought in this morning via a cruise ship.