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Dr. Marvin Manzanero and George Gough: Rigorous testing process expected

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Posted: Thursday, June 25, 2020. 11:04 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Director of Health Services and leading COVID-19 expert Dr. Marvin Manzanero says a rigorous testing process for COVID-19 is being implemented.

Two separate rapid antigen tests will be done of tourists, backed up by a PCR COVID-19 test. Testing review begins this week for the newly-acquired GeneXpert and Taiwanese kits that can deliver results on average in less than an hour and a half.

But he maintained that testing will be continuous even for those with negative results, and Belize has been learning from its neighbors as to what to do and not do.

The Ministry, Manzanero said, has been working with the tourism industry on preparing to handle visitors who bring in COVID-19, but he maintained that things can and have changed rapidly and there is still the possibility of a stronger rapid test and even a vaccine.

His boss, CEO Dr. George Gough, says Belize is as ready as it can be, with a dedicated “COVID Hospital” at the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan and units at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.

Belize is procuring 5,000 antigen tests and working with suppliers to obtain both IGG antigen and antibody tests including from Taiwan and another 1,000 from the Global Fund, Dr. Gough said.

He reminded that it is important to maintain Belize’s “access” to testing supplies and that our path has no clear definition at the moment, but if Belizeans keep to the “gold standards” and visitors play along, then while there is still a lot of work to be done and potential changes, we can be responsible.

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