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Jun 3, 2020

Anticipating the Reopening of the P.G.I.A.

Belize has entered its eighth week without recording a positive COVID-19 case. The closure of the P.G.I.A. and land borders has kept imported cases away and the work of frontline workers and the Ministry of Health has contributed to the current status.  The government had tentatively set July first as the day when flights would resume at the international airport, however, those plans have changed and there is no fixed date for the airport to reopen.  But as the days go by, businesses continue to lose millions of dollars. Health experts and policy makers are studying the global picture and there will come a point when the P.G.I.A. will need to reopen by striking a balance between health and the economy. Director of Health Services, Doctor Marvin Manzanero says that whenever the P.G.I.A. opens again, the Ministry of Health will have to adjust its strategy.


Marvin Manzanero

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“Whenever it opens I think from the Health standpoint we will do whatever we have to do. It might not be the ideal because I don’t think we have the ability to test upon arrival. The ideal would be to do PCR testing but that becomes a logistical nightmare and also it will put your testing ability to the test because I don’t know how many people are intending to start arriving and then how long before your test that you have in country are depleted. All those test factors need to be considered. Our job is to advice based on what we know and whatever happens in that light we have to adjust as a Ministry of Health.”


Hipolito Novelo

“Would you be able to say whether you advice would be open the P.G.I.A. or the land borders after July first? Is July first too soon?”


Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“I don’t know if the land borders have been discussed for opening. So that becomes two less headaches if you will. The airport, I know that that has been thrown out as a potential date. There are many things that will have to change between now and then. I don’t know how much time we have but again if they say that is the date, although there has been discussion as to when the potential date can be, the ministry of health will have to adjust.  Last Friday when we met with other colleagues we didn’t have a straight answer and I think we were seeking comfort among ourselves to try and find an answer to the questions that keep coming because we don’t have one.”


Hipolito Novelo

“But in terms of your professional advice and your knowledge of what is happening, would you say that July first is a date that you had supported?”


Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“You see Hipolito if you go back to when we had started the discussions we had said maybe by the end of May we would have had rapid tests and all these mechanisms to try to open in June but unfortunately that keeps changing. July first might not be the ideal date but then when are you going to open if you come last week in June and we still can’t find a possible solution for delaying it a month.”


Hipolito Novelo

“…and is it the expectation that when the country reopens to the world that then we will register a new case of COVID-19?”


Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“More than likely, yes.”

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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