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Mar 12, 2020

Belize Integral Health Centre Closes Due to Suspected COVID-19 Patient

Prior to the Prime Minister’s press conference, there was a scare at a clinic in the south side of Belize City. A person showing respiratory complications had gone in for a check-up; that triggered an alarm among those persons awaiting treatment and resulted in the closure of the facility. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

News spread like wildfire this morning that a health facility in Belize City was in chaos after there was at least one person exhibiting respiratory complications, a symptom of the novel coronavirus. By the time we got to the Belize Integral Health Centre at the corner of Curassow and Gibnut Streets, the facility had been closed and services discontinued until Friday. Residents say that there were suspicious activities at the centre after which an ambulance arrived and transported at least one person to the K.H.M.H., where an isolation unit has been set up.


Voice of: Curassow Street Resident

“I saw little movements this morning, but I didn’t know what it was. So we just kept inside and mind wi own business, but we really didn’t know what was going on.”


Evan Mariano, Gibnut Street Resident

“They have wah ambulance weh rush people to the K.H.M.H. and fi make people weh live ina this area and coronavirus dah wah very serious thing, we hear about it from China and so forth. Fi we Belizeans needs to take precaution because these things are very serious. But when it comes to the hospital itself, I mean they should have known better and do better and know that this is very dangerous. And we as Belizeans we need to get these things early because at the end of the day, we know that dehn thing yah dah airborne things and we need to deal with it.”


The health centre is just across the street from residential houses, home to a number of children and older persons. The elderly as well as persons with chronic conditions are more susceptible to severe cases of COVID-19.  The medical practitioners as well as security and police officers stationed in the area were wearing masks and gloves.  This raised alarm bells in the neighbourhood.


Voice of: Curassow Street Resident

“That is a concern because a lot of kids live in the area and the residents are really close to the hospital—right in front of them, across from them, behind them…all around the hospital people live so that is a concern for us as residents living in this area.”


The staff at the medical centre then locked themselves inside and as persons arrived for their appointments, they realized that the centre was closed. But how prepared are residents for what the Ministry of Health says is inevitable to end up in Belize?


Voice of: Curassow Street Resident

“I think we still noh protected. We should have known; they should have tell us something at least.”


Duane Moody

“How prepared are you, your family because the government has said that it is not if, but when it gets here. So how prepared are you?”


Voice of: Curassow Street Resident

“I am really concerned because I heard the coronavirus is deadly so we have to try to protect ourselves in any kinda way so they should have told us what is going on over there as we the residents who live right across from them and around them.”


Duane Moody

“They say wash yo hands with soap and water. Have you been teaching your children, your grandchildren that?”


Voice of: Curassow Street Resident

“All ah that. Every day I tell them to wash their hands, every minute I tell them to wash their hands; anything yo touch, go wash yo hand.”


Evan Mariano

Evan Mariano

“We just go by rumours, garlic and water; we are not sure about these things. We can’t hundred percent sure. So at the end of the day, I don’t know if the facility sure or hundred percent weh dehn di do. But otherwise than that, I don’t know but we need fi deal with it, though.”


Duane Moody for News Five.


At the PM’s press conference, Director of Health Services Doctor Marvin Manzanero confirmed that the patient’s test returned negative for COVID-19.

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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