Posted: Thursday, November 26, 2020. 11:10 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Minister of Health and Wellness Michel Chebat says Belize has been left vulnerable for the last few months in the fight against COVID-19.
There remains a testing backlog of more than 2,000 PCR samples, he revealed, and no effort to decentralize testing despite offers from the Belize Agricultural Health Authority and others.
Additionally, the Ministry and others has been operating under a budget cut of 40 percent and there was no effort to plan ahead during the lull in infections between May and the re-surge in August.
It has left hospitals and clinics either already overwhelmed or close to being so with cases; 54 persons are hospitalized and nine are in intensive care.
Rapid tests will be added to the arsenal of services; public clinics test for free but at least two do carry a fee with them, the Minister said. We will find the funds to carry on as we take the pandemic very seriously, he added.
A total of $15 million will be approved for the new measures, including a public campaign. It is expected to last six months but the Minister noted that the Ministry is fighting a pandemic that changes from day to day on the ground.
The new plan he unveiled today, he says, will only work with the cooperation of the public, private sector and Government; the only way to prevent the spread of the disease is to curtail movement and change behaviour.
Nurse Lorna Perez, National Surveillance Officer, noted that Belizeans should not take any chances whether your symptoms are mild or severe.
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