As we stressed earlier there are four suspected cases of swine flu
in Belize. But just the specter of it has the streets buzzing- and when we hit
downtown Belize City this evening with the news that the Agriculture Show and
Morgan Heritage concert had been cancelled because of the threat – we
found concern, and consternation mixed in with some fatalism. Here’s what
they told Keith Swift.
“I am very afraid because I have three children to look after. I can
handle it and they cannot and I don’t know why they didn’t close
down the border from they heard the news. They will wait until it is too late
and its not right because a lot of children will suffer.”
Agric got postponed because of it. You agree with that?
“I totally agree and I disagree that they bring this circus to Belize.”
“Oh yes I am afraid very much because we don’t know what type
of people are here having this problem and first thing, I try to be protected
because then who will protect we.”
Agric got postponed because of the swine flu, you agree with that?
“Yes I agree with that because we don’t know what people will
eat out there.”
You don’t think we are overreacting?
“Yes we are overreacting because we are scared, that’s why.
Mi back my, let me show you, my little hand sanitizer and then if I have to
wear my mask I will.”
“Well I am not afraid but I am just concerned about it.”
Are you taking any special precautions?
“At this moment no, I just go from home to work and so forth and thing
and I don’t feel ill, I am not sick or anything so I don’t really…if
it is the case that we have to get a warning that we have to use a mask or something
then I will do it.”
“Basically we have to take precautions because we don’t know
what’s going to happen. We can’t wait for the last minute and then
start to prepare ourselves. We got to start prepare ourselves from now. We start
to buy the mask for your face, I work at Brothers Habet and those things are
going pretty fast right now, a lot of people are buying them up because they
are preparing themselves.”
“I am not afraid of the swine flu because you have to die anyway.”
You think we’re overreacting?
“Yes we are overreacting, it doesn’t make sense you cancel everything.
It is better to have it and continue. I was going to Croc Land. My mom wanted
to go to Chetumal too but I am not sure if she is going again because of this.
I already told her to still go but a lot people don’t want to go again.”
“I don’t think I can catch it like that. I think I have to go
across the border.”
They postponed Agric because of it.
“Cho? But no swine flu is in Belize. We haven’t sent it to the
lab and found out the truth. I nuh see no problem of us having swine flu in
Belize because I don’t see no result coming out proving that we have the
“Definitely I am afraid of the flu. It is affecting majority part
of the world and definitely we have heard about cases here in Belize so to be
on the safe side, I have no problem with them postponing the various activities.”
And as some of those people told us – they are preparing for
the worse. That means that the hottest items at drug stores the past few days
have been gloves, masks, and hand sanitizers. When we checked in at Central
Drug Store this evening, manager Delcia Joseph told us they were sold out.
Delcia Joseph, Central Drug Store
“They have been buying masks and hand sanitizers to try to stop the
flu from coming into Belize.”
So when they come, what are they telling you?
“Masks and hand sanitizers, from morning that is what we are getting.”
Do you have any left right now?
“No we are out, we are waiting for some to come in at the moment.
People desperately want it. Every minute we have calls. In 5 minutes time people
are coming back and asking if we have received as yet. So we’re receiving
a lot of buyers right now.”
Central Drug Store expected to receive new stock later this evening
or first thing in the morning.
And one more item related to swine flu, there have been no cruise ship
cancellations to Belize at this time. 3 cruise ships will be in port tomorrow
but they will not be going onto Mexico as all stops in that country have been
cancelled, meaning no visits to Cozumel Cancun and Mahawal. And while Belize
is holding on, depending on the results of tests that are expected tomorrow,
that may or may not affect arrivals scheduled for next week.