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Dr. Marvin Manzanero Belize

Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2020. 9:11 pm CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: Today, reports of the resignation of the Director of Health Services (DHS), Dr. Marvin Manzanero went viral on social media.

Those reports surfaced during a meeting of the National Oversight Committee, in which Manzanero reportedly expressed concerns surrounding the new Statutory Instrument (SI) made public by the government on Tuesday.

That SI said that the DHS was to provide personal information of COVID-19 patients to the Minister of National Security and in failing to do so, the DHS would have committed an offence.

After the SI was made public, several Belizeans commented on the implications of the DHS releasing the information to the minister of National Security.

And, shortly after the news went viral, the Government issued a statement referring to the reports as “Fake News” but added that the committee was in discussions with Manzanero.

“It was agreed to recommend to Cabinet an alternative way of dealing with the issue of COVID-19 positive persons who break quarantine and the law,” the Government said.

Tonight, Dr. Manzanero took to his personal social media account stating, “ With so many things churning through my head and knowing damn well what my conscience dictates, one phrase from Dr. Fauci comes to mind- I learned a long time ago people will have respect for you if you tell them things they don’t want to hear… And, so that wont keep me awake, I already know what the answer is.”

Meanwhile, the Minister of National Security, Micheal Peyrefitte in an interview with our colleagues at 7News Belize, explained that as the cases of COVID-19 increase, more people are in self isolation and when they violate the self isolation, police need to be ‘sprung into action’.

Peyrefitte said that the rationale behind the provision in the SI is to provide the Minister of National Security with a list of all those persons that should be in quarantine or isolation and the police can act when those people are violating the laws.

With response to Doctor-patient confidentiality, Peyrefitte stated that the cabinet and the oversight committee believe that their decision is the best interest in dealing with the pandemic.

“I don’t foresee an issue at all…… I don’t see personally what’s the issue,” Peyrefitte stated.

The SI stated that if the DHS fails to provide the info, he would be committing an offence and to that, Peyrefitte said that they don’t want it to be left to the discretion of the DHS to provide the information.

“He must provide it..,” Peyrefitte emphasized.

In the meantime, there has not been any official comment from the Minister of Health. As for support for Manzanero, Belizeans across the country have expressed their solidarity with the doctor for his professionalism and arduous work during the pandemic. 

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