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#496971 - 10/18/14 06:09 AM Ebola Quarantine Structures, Areas To Be Identifie
Marty Offline
A quarantine area will also be set up at the Phillip Goldson International - particularly for any visitor arrive from Dallas Forth Worth, which has direct flights to Belize.

The Prime Minister also announced the establishment of a quarantine area in Belie City:..

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"We are looking at the possibility of the Cleopatra White; two rooms there being converted. We don't want to simply stand down the services there, but in the meantime two rooms are being prepared and if we had to use it then of course all those services would be cut off there. Looking at in the context of the BDF Price Barracks area at some place where we could put another of the Mennonite houses in case we had to move somebody from the airport presenting the symptoms to that spot. But at the airport itself, one of the Mennonite houses will be in fact put on site so that there is an immediate quarantine area for any further screening that might be necessary - if somebody looks a little bit suspicious."

Dr. Ramon Figueroa, Director of Planning & Policy Analysis Unit
"Certainly we're looking at ensuring that the facilities we are identifying meet the standards for quarantine and isolation. And that is why when the Prime Minster asked us today how quick could we have that set up, although I wanted to say within a day or two, reasonably it will take us at least a week or more to get everything in place."

And so now while everyone's talking and on the same page or getting there - one week ago - when the Ministry of Health held a press conference, it was like Babel - with everyone talking their own language.

The point that yesterday's event has crystallized and galvanized the public sector strategy for Ebola didn't go un-noticed today:..

Dr. Peter Allen, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Health
"We take this particular opportunity now to shift this public health issue to the very top of the priority list. So NEMO has now been engaged and all of those representatives are meeting on Monday morning to strengthen that cohesion between the different agencies."

That meeting will be held on Monday.

Channel 7

#497172 - 10/23/14 05:46 AM Re: Ebola Quarantine Structures, Areas To Be Identifie [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Minister of Health Firming Up Plans For Ebola Screening At PGIA

So far tonight we’ve discussed the two emerging health threats that are out there Chikungunya and Ebola and told you what authorities are doing about them. But, there’s more – especially for Ebola. Two isolation facilities have been set up at the Philip Goldson International Airport. Apart from this, Public health screeners are activating Point of Entry Screening for passenger. The Ministry has also developed a Health Alert notice card, a passenger location card, and a fact sheet on Ebola to keep track of passenger information and movement patterns.

Channel 7

#497173 - 10/23/14 05:47 AM Re: Ebola Quarantine Structures, Areas To Be Identifie [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Cruise Ships Balk At New Ebola Screening, Threaten Mass Cancellations

Last week Friday, Belize’s Ministry of Immigration announced new stringent measures for Ebola screening at two major entry points: the Phillip Goldson International Airport and the Belize Harbor where cruise ships come in.

The Cruise Ship health screening protocol seemed problematic from the jump – if only because of the sheer volume of cruise visitors who come to shore on cruise ship day and the tight schedule they are on. Imagine having to screen thousands of cruise ship passengers in a very short period of time. On Monday, it was – to put it mildly – problematic, and that caused alarm with the major cruise lines – who threatened to pull scheduled cruises fast and furious. The press asked the Tourism Minister about it today:….

Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism

"When these type of activity happen, as a government we have to be extremely cautious. The tourism industry is a very sensitive industry and it's the bread and butter of many destinations. There was some measures that was taken, but the cruise lines are a business entity and they want to make sure the passengers are safe onboard. There was majors, one particularly with the passports that was taken, we are revisiting that particular one. And I believe that indeed, we're suppose to do so because for these people, this is not the first point of entrance, Belize is not the first destination. The go to Honduras, then Mexico, then finally Belize, so we're looking at that and I hope by this evening we will have a concrete idea as to how we will move forward in that direction."

Duane Moody, Channel 5 News Reporter

"Sir is there concern then where the Carnival cruise line might decide to pull it's port of call to Belize and of course affect the Belize cruise industry?"


"Adding to that, while he is asking if there is concerns, was there a letter or some form of correspondence that came in from the cruise line threatening to do so?"

Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr.

"No, all that i'm telling you is that they were worried about the measures we had taken, but i'm sure communication between both entities, of the cruise line and our government officials and i'm sure by this evening that will be resolved.”

And, indeed, by the end of the day, a streamlined work around had been put into place which should make things move faster, while also ensuring the safety of the public. The BTB’s Valdemar Andrade told us via phone how the workaround averted a cancellation of a cruise for tomorrow:…

Valdemar Andrade- Director, Cruise and Regional Initiatives, BTB

"Yes there was one cancellation that was scheduled for tomorrow from Royal Caribbean, but we manage to streamline the process and the navigator of the seas will be in port tomorrow. The difference is that on Monday, what we did, we took the entire boarding party to English Caye and we put on the health officer first and the health officer had to give clearance for the rest of the boarding party could board. That process took about 25 minutes which caused a delay time in port, so in order to avoid that they are only putting on the health officer at English Caye and the rest of the boarding party will do as normal when the come into the Belize City harbour. It shouldn’t affect the season, with this in place now we are able to ensure we don't have any additional time in place. This morning we tested just putting at the English Caye harbour, just the pilot and the health officer and Carnival cruise line reported that process went well."

Belize’s screening protocol will stay in place for as long as the Centers for Disease Control requires precautionary measures.

And if you’re wondering what’s this big cruise season we’re talking about - for 2104 alone almost one million cruise visitors are scheduled to arrive in Belize – about three hundred thousand more than last year….

Channel 7

#497177 - 10/23/14 06:12 AM Re: Ebola Quarantine Structures, Areas To Be Identifie [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Fonseca Supports Stance of PM Barrow on Ebola Scare

Francis Fonseca

Last Friday, U.S. Department of State’s Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that they are disappointed in Belize’s decision to turn down a request to have a lab technician and her husband airlifted from the Phillip Goldson International Airport to the United States.  An appeal was made on Thursday for the woman, an employee of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, who reportedly came in contact with specimen from deceased Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas, to be ferried ashore in Belize City from a Carnival cruise ship moored off the coast of Belize City.  Despite Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s initial refusal, the U.S. government persisted, going as far as flying a private aircraft into Belize’s airspace against the decision of the P.M.  Today, we asked Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca for his position on the comments made by the U.S. State Department.  He too supported the firm decision taken by P.M. Barrow.

Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition

“We expect the United States to express disappointment but the reality is that that was the only responsible decision that Belize could make given the state or capacity of our health system.  We know best our health system and what, you know, what risk we can take with that health system.  There are so many uncertainties about this Ebola virus, even as I pointed out the day before the Ebola scare at our press conference, even the great United States have been having great difficulties dealing with this Ebola virus.  So, I think our government made the only responsible decision that could be made.  We have to be concerned about the safety and security of our citizens, that has to be our first priority.  So I support that decision, I think it was the right decision, it was the only responsible decision.  I am certain that with time the United States will understand that it was decision made on the basis of what was in the best interest of our citizens, just as they would do.”

We note that Mexico also refused the Carnival Magic from disembarking passengers at Cozumel and that on arrival at Galveston, the passengers were disembarked only after the lab technician tested negative for Ebola. 

Channel 5


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