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Apr 29, 2009

Weekend events called off as swine flu threatens country

Story PictureThe World Health Organization has upped the red flag for the swine flu to level five and the country is under alert. Just before news time, the Ministry of Health issued a directive to call off all major public events planned for this long weekend in the face of the rising threat of a pandemic. These include the National Agriculture and Trade Show, the Holy Redeemer A.G.M., the Crooked Tree Cashew Fest, and the Morgan Heritage Concert. This was decided at the latest meeting of the Ministry of Health to safeguard the health of the population and prevent the spread of suspected cases.

Voice of Dr. Paul Edwards
“One of the key decisions made—recommendation by Director of Health Services, Dr. Michael Pitts today was to not have and this is an recommendation to not have public gatherings, major public gathering. And that is in direct reference to the agricultural fair, the cashew fair, the Morgan Heritage concert, the circus and possibly even in relations to P.S.E. examinations next week. The recommendation then, it is made by the Director of Health Services and the intent is to pass that the Prime Minister for his decision-making. The justification for the recommendation includes various factors. One, the World Health Organization has moved now from phase four to a phase five and when we talk about a phase five we’re talking by the fact it is characterize by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries, in one World Health Organization region and when we talking in that region specifically, it is the region of the Americas as compared to other regions like Europe and Africa etc. And while most countries will not be affected at this stage, phase five is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that it is now time to finalize the organization, communication and implementation of the planned mitigating method because the time short. However in Belize, while that have been declared, we have to be cognizant of the fact that we do not have any confirmed case of the swine flu up to this time. However though we have four cases of interest that are being investigated. None of these individuals are hospitalized and today we were able to send off four of those samples to CAREC.”

Marion Ali
“And those will be back when?”

Voice of Dr. Paul Edwards
“We should get some answer late tomorrow evening.”

Marion Ali
“Should any of those results come back to positive that it is swine flu, what would change in the approach that we are currently taking now?”

Voice of Dr. Paul Edwards
“What we do now is to go back and look at where that case comes from, continue the investigation elating a contact and then we start looking at different things, lets say from example, that was case in San Pedro. It makes it a lot easier when you start saying then possibility might be to say well, we’re gonna start closing schools. Right now we’re seeing like events like church that is fine. Now when you get those confirmed cases we start looking at the possibility of closing off schools and following suit that Mexico has done as well.”

Marion Ali
“Can you tell us the conditions of the four people who are—their cases are under investigation?”

Voice of Dr. Paul Edwards
“These individuals were hospitalized. They were examined and because of the– some of the travel history, that’s why we’re saying that in case of interest under investigation. They have not satisfy what we call suspected cases, meaning that we are sick and have come in contact with somebody who is confirmed nor having travel to an area where there are confirm cases, but there are certainly case of interest.”

Marion Ali
“So there will be what?

Voice of Dr. Paul Edwards
“What happen they have gone back home and we’ve given them those conditions of trying to stay in one room by themselves with a bathroom and what happen is you should have one person go in there with a mask and address their needs. For there to be home care when these persons cough and sneeze, they put that in a place separate from the normal garbage of the house. For that person to try and eat as best as possible, little portions in small amount to try and rebuild their immunity and we continue to monitor these individuals with the intent that they remain mild cases.”

While huge gatherings are being cancelled, there is no word yet from the Ministry of Education is respect of classes.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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