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Nov 3, 2020

Dr. Manza: 27 COVID-19 Cases in 1 Banana Farm

Director of Health Services, Doctor Marvin Manzanero says that while he supported the NOC’s decision to enforce a curfew on Bella Vista and Santa Cruz Village in southern Belize, that measure is not enough to address the COVID-19 situation in the banana industry. The DHS confirmed to News Five today that some twenty-seven positive cases were detected in one farm alone from which forty plus samples were obtained. That random sampling was done with rapid tests. A health team has been deployed to the area as the ministry is trying to ascertain the extent of the infection.


Marvin Manzanero

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“Tomorrow to determine how we are going to go about doing random sampling without necessarily affecting the work production down there. From the notes we gathered just throughout the day, we more than likely will have to close one farm where sixty-four percent of those, I can’t recall the exact figures, but I believe it is twenty-seven out of forty-something samples that were done were all positive so that warrants for a closure of that specific farm. And as we move along, whatever else might need to be close, we are hoping that it is not as extensive so that it can somewhat still be contained. That was a request from the Banana Growers Association, but I believe it has to be more than the curfew and we made that note for the NOC and the team also made that clear to the association and the owners of the farm because it is not just the curfew. It may be the working conditions under which these people are; the overall social conditions after they work. If they live inside dwellings inside the banana farms, those dwelling conditions need to be improved. If people are not going to be working for the next two weeks that they are adequately cared for by their employer; I mean if you are telling them that they can’t come to work because they are positive, then you have to make sure that they have provisions in terms of food and all the other basic commodities. So the curfew alone is not going to work if you don’t put all the other structures in place because we are told that it is being driven by the social conditions under which these people live.”

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