The Ministry of Health has confirmed that there are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Belize or the region. Despite this fact, Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services assured Love News that all complaints are taken seriously and are immediately investigated. As recent as yesterday our newsroom received a report of a suspected case in rural Corozal. According to Dr. Manzanero they have conducted an investigation in Caye Caulker and the one in Corozal is ongoing.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “Those things are going to keep popping up, unfortunately I think it can get out of hand if we are not able to ascertain and just go by hearsay. Nonetheless we still have to do what we call a rumor investigation. We had one earlier in the week in Caye Caulker and we have one case that we are following in Corozal where you go in, send the people, do your epidemiological work, make a determination whether you need to do sampling or anything like that, so that investigation is currently happening and I anticipate that more of that will continue to happen. We have met earlier, this is our second meeting for the day with PAHO, on Tuesday we met with authorities from the Airport Authority and yesterday we met at Central Health Region in terms of the surveillance aspect. All surveillance teams have been activated for influenza and zoning into any particular case that may arise as a result of Coronavirus.”
In an interview this week with Dr. Fernando Cuellar, he spoke of the country’s preparedness in the event of the arrival of coronavirus. Cuellar noted an inadequacy in resources and facilities. According to Dr. Manzanero, the same resources used in other cases would be utilized in the event of coronavirus.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “Once we have a suspected case depending on how ill you are it can be self isolation in a health center. Belize City because we’re assuming it’s going to be through travel then that becomes a situation in terms of identifying the area in Belize City where you will be placed but if you are not severe then for how long are you going to have that person quarantined? That is the normal process, follow the normal referral process for now.”
Reporter: Do we have a quarantine center here?
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “We’ll we’re not going to be quarantining people in that regard, isolated areas within health centers as you would do with any other infectious disease. I don’t know what specific resources were being alluded to because if this for now is following the pattern of other flu viruses it will be treated in the same way. We just went through the review with PAHO and the situation is that there is no specific treatment, supportive treatment, which means if it’s just a fever which can be 80% of the cases then you’re just going to get the usual medication for fever; if you get worse it will be managed according to the symptoms. So I don’t specifically know what that comment really meant because all the other flu situations that we have in Belize we manage it with what we have.”
The World Health Organization has declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. The Ministry of Health issued a press release stating quote “The Caribbean region still remains at low risk and the declaration of the PHEIC does not mean that there are any changes in terms of travel bans or restrictions. The Ministry of Health continues ongoing discussions with CARPHA and PAHO regional and country offices to keep everyone abreast of the regional response.” End of quote.