Posted: Sunday, April 5, 2020. 8:18 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Prime Minister Dean Barrow, offering condolences to the family of the late Hubert Pipersburgh by video statement tonight, called his untimely death both an occasion for mourning and opportunity for Belizeans to change their “heedlessness” to the regulations.
Pipersburgh, 55, is the first patient with COVID-19 to be named by authorities. He was eulogized as a well-known and renowned Belizean who served his country at home and in the diaspora.
Barrow explained that despite the “Herculean efforts” of Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital staff to save him, his condition rapidly and irreversibly deteriorated. He had been transferred from Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan on Thursday after visiting a private facility earlier in the week, according to Barrow.
The police’s increasing number of arrests for breaches of curfew and social distancing rules and pictures of crowding at the Michael Finnegan Market were mentioned and condemned. The P.M. hoped that this death and new case will change this behaviour.
Some 49 close contacts of Pipersburgh and medical staff were tested and returned negative, Barrow said.
Patient 5, announced today, is in strict quarantine in Corozal and has been since his return via Mexico.
Reiterating that there is no need to panic, Barrow cited the arriving Cuban medical brigade and formation of an advisory planning and coping unit to report to Director of Health Services Dr. Marvin Manzanero.
Apart from the complete closure of the borders even to Belizeans with effect from today, Sunday, further action awaits Monday’s meeting of the National Oversight Committee and Tuesday’s of Cabinet, from which the Prime Minister says he will report.
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