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Mar 11, 2020

K.H.M.H.A. Workers Union Says COVID-19 Isolation Area Poorly Constructed

The deadly Covid-19 or coronavirus has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The disease has spread to more than a hundred countries worldwide and all around Belize, countries have begun confirming cases and deaths due to the virus. More than four thousand people have died from it.  The effects of the virus are widespread and it is pushing industries to the brink of collapse.  Health officials here believe that it is just a matter of time before Belize confirms its first case. Late this evening, a woman in Guyana died from the disease. This was the country’s first confirmed case. The president of El Salvador, according to the New York Times, has banned visitors from Germany and France due to coronavirus, after previously barring visitors from Italy, South Korea, and Iran—the countries with the largest outbreaks outside of China. Mexico, Jamaica, Honduras have also confirmed Covid-19 cases. Guatemala has announced that it will ban entry of European citizens to stop its spread.  The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Authority has designated and prepared an isolated area within the national referral hospital to house and treat patients. K.H.M.H.A. Workers Union, however, says that its members are gravely concerned. The union says that the isolation area is not only poorly equipped, but also poorly constructed.


Andrew Baird

Andrew Baird, V.P., K.H.M.H.A. Workers Union

“We have been in the prepared isolated room and I am saying it is not the type of facility that would be needed for the corona virus isolation patients. You need a negative pressure room. What they have there is far from negative pressure. The ceiling is porous. You need a non porous ceiling. All the fixtures, light fixtures and stuff must be properly sealed. The doors must be self sliding door in a negative pressure room. The doors that are presently there, all the doors after I go in and take care of that patient and get contaminated I will have to put my hands on those doors. Somebody else will put their hands on those doors. Furthermore, the doors are not sealed. In other words, the virus, bacteria will flow under the door and into the corridors and innocent staff and other patients will get sick. In a negative pressure room, the AC unit is a no-no. In Singapore, recently they did a research are three patients with coronavirus were in a room.  They tested the AC and the AC tested positive for coronavirus which means that the virus, bacteria travelled through the AC system. Karl Heusner for the most of the places has one central unit.”


Lidia Alpuche Blake

Lidia Alpuche Blake, President, K.H.M.H.A. Workers Union

“During the SARS in 2003 a Mennonite house was bought and placed right opposite Karl Heusner. It was an isolation area close the Karl Heusner but far away from Karl Heusner, not in house. So when we heard that they wanted to bring patients in Karl Heusner and the area they are designating it. And all who worked here know what it entail putting that area there the employees starting, no it can’t be. Then you hear that. You hear the DHS saying something then you hear something else there. Then we ask the question, why are we taking this responsibility? Okay, we will but compensate us for the extra mile that we are going to 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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