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Feb 4, 2020

M.O.H. Advises Against Non-Urgent Travel; No Case of Virus in Belize.

Russell Manzanero

Over the weekend, the Ministry of Health issued a release to advise against travel to countries where the novel virus is present.  They recommended that those who do not have urgent travel plans to hold off on travelling.  While it is a soft recommendation, other countries have taken harsher restrictions. Doctor Manzanero says that despite the advisory, Belize is still welcoming people from anywhere in the world, but they have stepped up their surveillance measures. He says that two persons, who were under investigation due to their travel and contacts, have been cleared, so up to this time, there are no known cases of the coronavirus in Belize.

 

Dr. Russell Manzanero, Epidemiologist, Ministry of Health

“The term is what we use, persons under investigation, so they are not any kind of probable cases until we could find out more. When we talk about individuals under investigation, it is probably that they had some kind of travel history and they might not have any symptoms at all. In these cases, for example, the first person was completely asymptomatic – no symptoms- but because of the travel history we jumped on it and measures were taken to actually go find this person and see his contact tracing as well. Fortunately, that person remains without symptoms and those results did come back negative. The second case is of a Belizean who actually had contact with a Chinese national, who had traveled, but we did those contact tracings and nobody was ill. The person does have flu-like symptoms but screening was done and samples taken but the results did come back just to be the seasonal flu. We have been having on-going contact tracing for other cases as well. We did make a recommendation over the weekend that if you are to travel you should be aware of precautions not only China, but we do know that there are ongoing transmissions elsewhere. We are asking that individuals who are going to china to defer that travelling for now. It is the same for individuals coming from China. We know that there are travel bans in the USA and other countries, so we are starting to ask that those individuals defer their travels as well but we can’t ask individuals not to travel so in that sense we are trying to heighten surveillance at P.G.I.A. and do that kind of tracing of travel history.”


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