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Feb 7, 2020

Belizean Student Returning from China is Cleared of Coronavirus

There is no suspected case of coronavirus in Belize; that’s the message coming out of the Ministry of Health today. This afternoon, the ministry responded to reports of a person being screened at the northern border with Mexico. On Thursday night, photos surfaced that the person was processed by health officers, who wore masks and at least one wore medical scrubs. The ministry confirms that it is part of its continued active surveillance activities at entry points across the country.  In its release today, the ministry says that they were alerted days ago of a Belizean student returning from China and that surveillance and screening measures were set up for his arrival at the Santa Elena border crossing in Corozal. The student had also cleared at four other border points prior to arriving in Belize and was not ill.  Today, News Five spoke with Director of Health Services, Doctor Marvin Manzanero.


Marvin Manzanero

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“Without getting into the particulars because I think we do need to respect the privacy of the individual and that has not been respected because we are now getting calls that people have been asking the person and the relatives for further measures and that’s turning into a discriminatory fashion that we cannot entertain. It doesn’t help anybody; it doesn’t help any of our surveillance efforts. So I think we need to be very careful with what we are actually putting out. As I said it is part of our routine surveillance measures that were undertaken. In this case, the family of the person that arrived had actually approached us from the week before and said this is what is going to happen, how can we ensure that everything is met. So we were aware of his travel itinerary; we were aware when he was going to be arriving and the family had decided that they were going to take internal measures once he arrived. So everything was covered in that regard. We didn’t feel that we needed to make that public. And I still don’t think that we should have made it public. It is rather unfortunate that people chose to take photos, chose to socialize those photos without really asking the relevant questions.”


Duane Moody

“So just to make it clear, there is no case. This person was cleared and there is no case of coronavirus in Belize.”


Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“Yeah the person is not symptomatic; he is not coming from the area. We are just going through the routine process that everybody who has a flight originating out of China will go through.”

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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