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Mar 17, 2020

DHS Says COVID-19 Situation is Fluid; a Detection Could See New Measures!

There are no confirmed cases of the virus in Belize, so should you go ahead and make travel plans?  Not so fast, says the Director of Health Services.  Doctor Marvin Manzanero is asking Belizeans not to make any plans for this Easter holiday.  He also spoke on the issue of gatherings for religious services. Doctor Manzanero says that the detection of the virus can see new measures implemented and efforts increased on the ground.  These recommendations can include a curfew, as well as a scaling down of the number of persons in any setting.  One business owner in San Pedro asked at what point will businesses be asked to close their doors on the island, considering that the number of visitors has dwindled.


Marvin Manzanero

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“That is a situation that will be reviewed and it moves with any identification of any case. Once we are able to ascertain there is transmission happening in a given community, then that community will more than likely be on lockdown. If it is more than one community affected or more than one district, then it is more than likely there is more than likely going to be a lockdown. Or many of the activities that we routinely do in the social context are either going to be cancelled or postponed. We have gotten, I know there is a fair in a Succotz that was on this weekend and that has been cancelled. Some of these   events are not even being postponed; they are being cancelled. I think World Water Day Activities have been cancelled, if not postponed. I briefly chatted with the cycling association, as well, and I think they have an activity coming this weekend but after that the junior, female and male cross country classics are more than likely not going to be held in the initial days. We have advised that, because of the level of preparation that is required, those may not be able to be held on days that we would routinely have them. Even the Easter activities, all those religious activities that happen for Good Friday and stuff, they are more than likely not going to be able to happen. So, we need to make plans for that. Don’t make plans for going anywhere for Easter until we assess the situation. Again, this is very volatile; changing. That would mean even in country when we would be on complete lockdown by then and even traveling outside of Belize. We are asking people to really be mindful of that.  Will clubs and other places where people socialize be closed down? That is part of the plan; closing the bars, restaurants, areas you can potentially socialize. So, that is why I said earlier with the issue with Easter. I don’t know where we are going to be in that regard. It could be a complete lockdown that nothing like that would actually open and nothing even in terms of church services actually happening.  Will the police be enforcing the less than hundred persons gathering, as well as kids who should be in the confines of their respective properties and not wandering on the streets? That discussion was held yesterday and eventually it may turn out into a curfew issue if we go down that road once we start having cases. The hundred people gathering, because we were asked again how we came up with specific number, again, that number was initially given because we don’t have any confirmed case. As you will note, what other countries are doing, they start to scale down the amount of people that you have. Even in your work environment, you may have to be less than ten people or the space around your work environment may have to be expanded and you will have to be creative with your employer in terms of how that will happen.”

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