The repatriates must endure a lengthy process before they are able to enter the country. Even after they are approved, they must undergo preventative measures while on their flight until they arrive in the hotel rooms. Considering that the latest cases have been from the repatriates, it is important that they follow the strict guidelines put in place before and during their quarantine process. Nurse Melinda Guerra, the regional manager for the central region, told us how the Ministry of Health ensures that these measures are kept.
Melinda Guerra, Regional Health Manager, Central Regional: “We are now swabbing them right at the airport as soon as they arrive and I think with this result we get it very quick within one day we receive the results. They are presently fully quarantined at the hotel and we do the contact tracing. Of course in this case we have a very minimal contact tracing to do because you know they are in one room so that’s what we have in place right now. For Belize City we have our BDF officers who are at strategic points within the hotels that they cannot leave the place and we are in daily communication with the managers of the facilities and the repatriated persons too so we talk to them on a daily basis. We are aware you know that once get persons coming from high risk countries the risk is there that we are going to get some positive cases and that’s why we have to take necessary measures especially the social distancing that we have to have, the wearing of the face masks that we have to have, making sure that people don’t spend much time engaged in conversation because you remember the greater the length of time that you are exposed to a person coming in the greater the risk. We have to make sure they have their face masks when they’re travelling, their antiseptic techniques to make sure the area is cleaned, the chairs, the cleaning process has to be there with Clorox or disinfectant.”
The quarantine process typically lasts fourteen days in the various hotels, but MOH continues to monitor the repatriates for another seven days when they are sent home.