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Apr 1, 2020

Returning Belizeans Up North Are Quarantined at a Hotel in Corozal Town

Even though all entry points have been closed, Belizeans cannot be left stateless and are allowed to re-enter the country.  But because persons returning from countries where the COVID-19 is thriving didn’t fully observe self-isolation, they are now being placed in mandatory quarantine.  In Corozal Town, a hotel is under heavy guard to ensure that returning Belizeans are under lock and key. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting 

Armed military men have been posted for a few days now at the Hok ‘ol Kin Hotel in Corozal Town. The area is now locked off to vehicular traffic and civilians, and soldiers keeping guard, can be seen wearing masks and gloves.  Word is that several persons who recently returned to Belize via the border entry point in the north were being quarantined at that location.  Mayor Rigoberto Vellos says it’s concerning.

 

Rigoberto Vellos

Rigoberto Vellos, Mayor, Corozal Town

“It’s a major concern for our community and I hope that the ministry looks into it and all the authorities look into it. Yes I can tell you that I have passed around the Hok ‘ol Kin and I have seen we have soldiers there. It would be very alarming for our community and it would also show us that the authorities set in place has failed because at no point, no one is to be quarantined in the middle of the town. We have already or the task force, together with the Ministry of Health, as far as I know, has already designated an area for quarantine, which is the ITVET. And if that is the case, that’s where those people belong.”

 

It is known that about nine to ten Belizeans return home on a daily basis. Over the weekend, nine persons were screened by the Customs and Excise Department, Immigration and the Ministry of Health at the northern border and had to go into mandatory quarantine.

 

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“In the last five, six days we have had to come up with more and more measures because it is difficult for us to be able to control human behavior and we had not wanted to go and be so drastic with some of the measures that we are now taking or suggesting because we only suggest and advise and these are executed by other agencies, not only the Ministry of Health. Initially we had the quarantine measures set up; twenty-four hours later we realized that we needed to amend it. And Sunday, we amended it further to talk about mandatory quarantine measures. I believe nine people are currently now on mandatory quarantine at the border.”

 

Marvin Manzanero

Marleni Cuellar, Co-Host, Open Your Eyes

“What does that mean? They are at an institution that is set up or a hotel that is rented for them?”

 

Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“It’s a hotel that people would have to pay because I think when we said this three or so weeks ago, we said in a press release that you are likely to come in and pay for your own—for foreigners and for Belizeans as well.”

 

Mayor Rigoberto Vellos says that the council has been working along with the Ministry of Health and that mattresses and other supplies have been put in place at the ITVET compound in the Santa Rita Heights area of Corozal, which has been designated as the isolation area for COVID-19.

 

Rigoberto Vellos 

“I can easily and proudly say that this council has been working very closely with the Ministry of Health. They had reached out to us several times to help them. For example we took the mattress to the ITVET where the quarantine supposed to be held. We have a direct connection with the task force, so we are working very close with them. This is not a time for politics. This is a time where we need to take care of our town, take care of our community and our people.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.


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