Tonight there are reports of a suspected case of the COVID-19 in Dangriga. Love News has received multiple calls in this regard but we have verified that they are not true. The Ministry of Health, however, had indicated that they are presently monitoring a family of three since their return to Belize from China on February twelve. According to the Director of Health Services, Dr Marvin Manzanero, they are not disclosing any further information on the cases but he has stressed that they are currently in self-isolation. The director says that the family displayed no symptoms of COVID-19, but they are still being monitored up to this weekend when the fourteen days expire. Dr Manzanero added that a strategy is in place to screen then monitor all persons, coming in from China, for fourteen days. A travel ban was issued on February eight for persons entering Belize from China with the exception of Belizeans.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services, Ministry of Health: “What routinely happens is anybody who has been in mainland China, once we get their particulars, and again because they are Belizeans they are allowed to come into the country, we will do the routine health checks on a daily basis until the fourteen day period has ended. If there is any sign or symptom of them being ill then we will take a swab. Their temperature is routinely recorded everyday and dependent on what we would find from that swab is the respective actions that would be taken. So that’s the routine follow up for anybody who was in China in the fourteen day period we are discussing- those are the three persons that are currently in self isolation and are monitored by health staff on a daily basis.”
Reporter: Okay, how many persons are being monitored by the Ministry of Health ?
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services, Ministry of Health: “I don’t know that we have any more other than those three because those who may have been monitored before, the fourteen day period may have been lapsed by now so they would no longer be under the fourteen day monitoring time frame and as you know the travel ban that came into effect last week would have had many foreigners turned back- actually I know through the weekend some people were turned back from the airport. Belizeans cannot be turned back so these last three are the last three that I am aware of who are currently being monitored.”
Reporter: When did they get in?
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services, Ministry of Health: “I think it was last week Wednesday but because of their travel period that by the time they got to the border their fourteen day period may very well elapse by this Friday or this weekend.”
Reporter: Okay and were they displaying symptoms of any kind ?
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services, Ministry of Health: “Upon arrival no. The last report I have from them was on Sunday morning. I think they were swabbed when they got to the border, I don’t think anything came out of that, if there was any sign or symptom they would have been swabbed again. I don’t have the report of them being ill for them to be labelled as a suspect case.”
Representatives of the Pan-American Health Organization has recently traveled to the Caribbean region with a goal to train and equip laboratory specialists on their ability to identify and respond to potential imported cases of the new coronavirus (COVID-19). Training in the Caribbean began in Suriname, followed by Barbados and Haiti, and will continue later this week in Jamaica, Belize, and Dominica. The laboratory training currently underway in the part of the Caribbean form of an overall initiative to ensure that 29 laboratories are ready to detect COVID-19 in the region by February 21. This week, training will also be hosted by the Ministry of Health of Mexico for 6 countries in Central America, namely, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, as well as in the Dominican Republic and Cuba.