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Mar 25, 2020

First Cohort of Cuban Medical Professionals Touch Down in Belize

Late this evening, a chartered flight arrived from Havana, Cuba landed at the Philip Goldson International Airport. On board was a team of Cuban medical professionals, who will be here for an extended period working along the health personnel from the Ministry of Health. All around the globe, the Cuban government is assisting with the deployment of doctors to assist nations at this time to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. On arrival, the Cubans were met by the Minister of Health, Pablo Marin and the C.E.O. of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lou Anne Burns.


Pablo Marin

Pablo Marin, Minister of Health

“We want to have them in Belize City and for the isolation unit at K.H.M.H.; that is where we need it most. Around the country, like I spoke to the ambassador from Cuba, we also have brigades here that are working with us. We already know the listing and which speciality they have and they will be able to be deployed anywhere else in the country that we need. But this is the first group of sixty-two medical officers; thirty-two of them are here and it feels a relief for all of us to be able to count on Cuba. It’s about two three weeks ago that I spoke to the ambassador about what we wanted. Immediately, she sent that request to Cuba and I really need to give thanks to the President, Miguel Diaz Canel because of their constant collaboration with us.  It is something that we have been working with them for nearly thirty-eight years. The Cubans are willing to come and support us.”


Lou Anne Burns

Lou Anne Burns, C.E.O., Ministry of Foreign Affairs

“It’s twenty-five years of formal diplomatic relations between us, but we have many more years, thirty-eight in fact, of a history of Cuban medical professionals lending a hand to Belize in goodwill. You saw them come off the plane just now; they are calm, they understand what to do. They are specialists in this area and have experience with Ebola and other epidemics—this is now a pandemic—but it is a good message to us in Belize. Be calm, practice good hygiene, wash your hands above all. Try to keep the spacing that is hard for us; it is a challenge, but we all need to do it.”



“What’s the timeline looking like? How long will they be staying here?”


Pablo Marin

“Well at the moment, they will be here for about three months. But whatever else we need to do, if we need to extend, they already know that they will be willing to extend the time that they will be here.”



“And apart from their medical expertise, is there anything else that they are bringing into the country? Any type of equipment or anything like that?”


Pablo Marin

“The equipment…remember, we have the equipment. We will be able to provide whatever they need. One of the things that everybody is thinking about is the protective gear for them not to be able to get the virus; we have that. The test kits that we need to know if you have the virus, we have that in country. We are about to procure four thousand more so all of that we have in place. The ventilators that everybody is talking about, we are getting more.”

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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