Posted: Saturday, April 11, 2020. 1:45 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The Leader of the Opposition People’s United Party (PUP) has made a major break from his pact with Prime Minister Dean Barrow, issuing a statement directly criticizing the Government’s response to COVID-19 in recent times and suggesting that his concerns and his constituents have been ignored and neglected.
John Briceño started with reviewing the concerns in the wake of the deaths of patients four and ten, offering condolences to their families and friends.
According to Briceño, the Government is scrambling to try to obtain the 25,000 test kits it initially refused from the Republic of Korea, through the Central American Bank of Economic Integration (CABEI). There were, it was alleged, concerns about the standard used to verify their efficacy. But the limited testing, he adds, “has been grossly insufficient and there is now community spread in both the Belize and Cayo Districts.”
Additionally, there was a lack of protocol behind the handling and treatment of patients four (at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital) and ten (at a private facility) before their deaths, which has left scores of frontline workers exposed.
It will not just be enough, Briceño said, to have a national shutdown for two weeks starting this evening. He listed certain additional decisions as follows: close down of both the private health care facility and non-COVID intensive care unit at KHMH for decontamination; mandatory quarantine and testing, at separate sites, for medical personnel and staff exposed to positive-testing persons and contact tracing or others who were voluntarily identified; and for non-medical persons in the same category; mandatory testing and separation from those working against COVID-19 from general staff including accommodation; establishment and dissemination of and training on protocols for the management of suspected cases and transfer of suspected and confirmed cases between facilities, particularly to KHMH; and action against Minister of Health Pablo Marin, in whom Briceño says Belizeans have lost their confidence.
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