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Apr 30, 2009

Entry point for cruise ship tourists monitoring arrivals

Story PictureThe Ministry of Health, Customs and the Immigration Departments have the borders of the country under surveillance for any signs of the Influenza A (H-one-N-one Flu). The Fort Street Tourism Village in Belize City is also an entry point for visitors. Though there were no doctors or nurses posted at the Village today, the Operations Manager told News Five that he has liaised with international ports when the virus surfaced in order to keep the facilities clean and safe for visitors and employees.

James Nisbet, Operations Manager, Fort Street Tourism Village
“We are taking precautions as things, very basic things we can do. For example, we’ve implemented new hand sanitizers outside of all of the bathrooms as well as by the trash collectors. We have stepped up the amount of times per day that our staff sanitizes the bathrooms. They are all wearing gloves and some of them are opting that come in direct contact with the people are wearing masks.”

Michael Mulligan, Port Security Officer Dock Master, Fort Street Tourism Village
“The security hasn’t changed that much, due to the fact that we have always kept in touch with the cruise line. A part of the protocol is that the cruise ships always send me 24 hours before their last ten port of calls. And none of these ships actually stopped in Mexico. For example the Enchantment would have normally been in Cozumel last night. However it stopped in Caye West and had a day at sea prior to coming to Belize. And obviously when I meet these security people I did ask if they have any problems or any sickness on board and some of them said there was none.”

James Nisbet
“Immigration as well as customs visit each and every ship and they check the manifest as to where these people come from and of course the home ports that provide the passage for these people have also provided screening as well.”

Jose Sanchez
“How closely is your relationship with the ministry of health regarding if they need to step up, close the facilities, or share information? How close is that or how fast is that?”

James Nisbet
“I do need to commend the ministry of health with all they have been doing so far. I know they actually have their plates full. We have not been in direct contact with the ministry of health, but we have been liaising with their officers in their departments getting the little fliers. We have been posting them in and around the village and I think that because of our ties with the other ports, we are ahead of the game with what we need to do.”

There is an economic upside to the flu. Nisbet says that five cruise ships which have never docked in Belize are bringing tourists to spend money in the jewel, since Mexico has temporarily been removed from their ports of call.

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