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Jun 12, 2020

15 Repatriated Belizeans Arrive at the P.G.I.A. onboard United Airlines Flight

A number of repatriation flights on United Airlines are scheduled for the month of June.  U.S. nationals board the United flights to return to the U.S., but Belizeans are also taking advantage of the opportunity to come back to the Jewel. A second group of Belizeans returned today and are now in mandatory quarantine. They are among the more than five hundred Belizeans in numerous countries seeking to return home due to the coronavirus pandemic.  News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

A second group of Belizean repatriates touched down at the Philip Goldson International Airport this morning, after receiving approval from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Health as well as the Immigration Department. The fifteen persons arrived onboard a United Airlines flight and will have to spend a mandatory fourteen days in quarantine.

 

Dr. Melissa Diaz, Deputy Regional Health Manager, Central Health Region

“The repatriation process started early June. One flight had already come in last Friday so this is the second flight that has come in. The process that we are doing at this point is that the Ministry of Health would send to myself and the regional manager, a list of the persons who will be on the flight, so it is a manifest of the flight coming in, usually sent to us the day before or the morning of the flight. In that manifest, we also have exactly how many people, the name, addresses, etc. and the location of where they will be quarantined.”

 

These returning Belizeans were screened at the airport where health stations have been installed; they were each swabbed by public health staff and a full travel history was ascertained. They were then transported via minivans to the Ramada Belize City Princess Hotel on Newtown Barracks where they will be isolated for the next two weeks.

 

Dr. Melissa Diaz

“The Ministry of Health decided to swab everybody on day one for the time that they arrive into Belize. So we set up a system at the airport where we place our equipment, which is like the swab booths and all the medical equipment that we need and as the passengers come off the plane then we go through the process that they would have to go through prior to actually going into home quarantine. Each case is dealt with individually, but everybody is under mandatory quarantine. A quarantine form is signed; it all explains to the passengers who have come in. They are then moved on to…so that’s done by our public health staff and then the nurses would see the passengers, do a temperature check and escort them over to the doctors who would do the swabbing and then the nurses continue with a full history of where they are coming from, if they have any symptoms and then they are escorted to their quarantine site.”

 

Deputy Regional Health Manager, Doctor Melissa Diaz says that these persons will be re-swabbed sometime between day twelve and fourteen to determine their COVID-19 status.

 

Dr. Melissa Diaz

“Once the swab test comes out and they are negative, we would call each person and explain the results and reiterate the process of quarantining and ensuring that they are doing everything the way that we’ve asked. And then we re-swab these persons between day twelve and fourteen. Once they have a second test that is negative at day-fourteen, then they will be allowed to go home. Of course, we always try to stress that they should still continue with all the precaution that we’ve asked like the hand hygiene and the social distancing, etc. that we are asking everybody in the public to do.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.


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