The Novel strain of the Coronavirus continues to be the discussion among health officials in the Caribbean region. Today members of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) met in Belize City with local officials to discuss the Coronavirus situation. Love News met up with the Director of Health Services, Dr. Marvin Manzanero, who told us that the meeting serves as an update on the pandemic
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “We just came out of a meeting that we had as regional body with PAHO counterparts from across the country. The presentation was done by the PAHO office out of the US for everybody to post their questions in terms of where we are, the current situation, what do you do in case of suspect cases, what’s the issue with travel and the shipping of samples. So that was reviewed at each country level to make determinations in case any case comes up. We have to go back and review, be updated in terms of whats going on in that regard, listen to the advisories coming out of PAHO, WHO and CARPHA. I believe the Director General will be presenting comments later on today I think he’s going addressing once the International Regulations Committee meets at the global level and then that trickles down to everything that happens on the ground level.”
As we reported this week, one of the measures being taken is the screening of persons coming in via the airport. Dr. Manzanero explained that airlines must now present a manifest of its passengers which will aid officials in determining whether passengers will be screened.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “One of the discussions we just had with PAHO where blanket screening is not necessarily going to be, it’s not recommended because it’s going to waste your resources and it really might not provide any further benefit, so it’s a targeted screening if you will. As a result of the meeting on Tuesday I did send a communication to airport authorities in terms of now having access to a full manifest before the flight arrives in country so that the staff at the airport, public health inspectors and a nurse who will accompany the process at the airport will be able to know who is actually originating out of trips out of China and be able to follow that. It doesn’t mean that just because you’re coming out of China that you’re going to be isolated or anything like that, we just follow the epidemiological questions, understand that people before departing are being screened if they’re coming through the US they’re being screened as well. I understand that coming through Panama they are being screened as well so in that regard that’s being taken care of and once they reach here they will be asked specific questions to try to establish epidemiological links, if there is any sign of flu like symptoms they will be channeled through a separate process, if not then they will be given health information should they become ill. We are intending to keep their information as well to monitor them at least for that incubation period. So that is the process that is happening at the airport, that’s what’s happening mostly everywhere you go now. We understand that there is travel that is limited now that’s coming and going to China but that’s a separate process, that’s usually self imposed or airlines that have stopped flying to China.”