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With COVID-19 contained so far in San Pedro – Is self-isolation, quarantine and social distancing working?

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San Pedro town (Marty Casado photo)

Posted: Monday, April 13, 2020. 11:01 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: On March 23rd, Belize officially confirmed its first case of COVID-19. It was a San Pedro woman who had returned from Los Angeles on March 19th and therefore this first case was considered to be an imported one. Within a few days, the mother of Patient 1 got infected, resulting in the first two (2) cases of COVID-19 being recorded in San Pedro.

The confirmation of Belize’s first COVID-19 case, and the resultant infection of the mother, created a frenzy and lots of Belizeans took to social media launching many accusations at Patient 1 and even blamed her for COFID-19 reaching the shores of Belize.

Following the detection of these first two (2) cases, the Government of Belize moved quickly and declared a state of emergency in San Pedro and the whole of Ambergris Caye. The island was effectively placed on lockdown, non-essential businesses and operations were ordered to close, movement to and from the island was restricted and a curfew was instituted. By this time the Government had already restricted social gatherings and began implementing social distancing measures, not only in San Pedro but the whole of Belize.

As of today, April 13th, San Pedro remains with only two (2) cases of COVID-19. Despite none of these first two (2) patients recovering as yet, no new case of COVID-19 has been reported in the island.

According to the Ministry of Health, Patient 1 and her mother have remained in self-isolation and are respecting the quarantine measures put in place by the Ministry. Facetime contact is maintained with these two (2) patient to check up on their symptoms and health status, and to confirm that they remain in self-isolation.

From all indications provided by the Ministry of Health, from the reports being made by Tourism Minister Heredia, it appears that the protocols of self-isolation, quarantine and social distancing is helping to keep the number of cases in San Pedro at two (2). It is heart-welcoming to report that after three (3) full weeks, no new case has been reported in the island. When good occurs we must applaud the efforts and so the first two (2) COVID-19 patients, the San Pedro community, the Government of Belize, the Ministry of Health and the Police must be commended in their efforts to contain COVID-19 to only two (2) cases on the island so far.

As time rolled on, a patient from San Ignacio, who had no contact with any of the two (2) patients from San Pedro tested positive. Shortly after two (2) different patients from Belize City as well as two (2) patients from Corozal, who had no contact with the two (2) San Pedro patients also tested positive.

We note that many believed that San Pedro would become the epicentre of COVID-19 in Belize. On the contrary, San Pedro has remained with two (2) cases while the rest of Belize has now recorded 16 cases, including two (2) deaths.

Despite the early criticisms and attacks launched against Patient 1, and to some extent San Pedro, the community of San Pedro may yet show the rest of Belize how to manage the potential spread of COVID-19.

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