Belize is at day-14 and counting since its last report of a confirmed case of Covid-19. The Government and public are now cautiously optimistic as restrictions have been relaxed effective yesterday and some stores and offices are now reopening its doors. Public transportation for essential workers only have resumed with conditions and testing has increased by the hundreds over the weekend. According to Prime Minister Dean Barrow any ease of restrictions or amendments to the regulations are based strictly on the advice of the National Task Force and the National Oversight Committee.
Rt.Hon Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “It means that indeed we should be considering a degree of relaxation and I’ve said in the scripted remarks that I gave, and of course today that that’s exactly what I contemplate happening. Remember though that I insist these decisions are not made by me alone not even by the Cabinet the Cabinet has in effect almost ceded jurisdiction as a defacto thing to the National Oversight Committee. So we will have a meeting of the National Oversight Committee on Wednesday by which time the recommendations that come to the National Oversight Committee from the National Task Force – National Task Force of course includes all the CEOs, all sorts of persons from the private sector especially medical personnel and Dr.Marvin and his team they will give us their recommendations so that we can consider them. The National Oversight Committee can consider them on Wednesday but I fully expect that they understand from us that they are to examine actually what it is that we can do to relax. So that’s their brief and in consequence I expect that it’s just a matter of detail now as to exactly what measures that currently obtain will be lifted.”
Minister of Health, Pablo Marin spoke to the media earlier today and spoke on the availability of testing kits and the situation next door in Quintana Roo, Mexico which Belize needs to keep an eye on.
Hon. Pablo Marin, Minister of Health: “Just yesterday we did about seventy tests so far everything as you mentioned was negative, we have already six recovered. It seems that we’re having some more today we’re waiting for the last test. Remember the person has to have two negatives for them to be confirmed but yes we are happy of the outcome but we are still looking what is happening around the country. You have Mexico just today I think they had about another fifty new cases and this is constantly happening so the peak for Quintana Roo which is right in border to Belize it’s an alarming amount of cases we need to be very careful of what we do, asking the people in the north to please don’t go to the Mexican side crossing over. With the US you saw the amount of cases coming up so definitely we are going to continue to have the borders locked, the airport locked at the moment until when those cases start to come down and we can see a little bit more easy out of our country. You know what is happening over the world, every country is on their own everybody tries to hold what they can but the swabs we are lucky the swabs should be coming in on Wednesday they were not confiscated but just hold on the side. The enzymes came in yesterday so we are good to go we are good to continue our testing. The tests were only stopped for one day, the situation with the enzymes you know Amerijet comes in every Wednesday Amerijet did not come in on that day it went I think to Puerto Rico and came in until Saturday so that holds our enzymes not to come in at that time but yes we have the enzymes it was only one day but because of the re route of the airplane. I tried to talk to the people in Quintana Roo in particular with my counterparts but as you know they’re peak right now and everybody is holding whatever they have for their own but right now we have the amount that we need and we will continue. What I heard Julius was mentioning and I need to clear again he’s talking about rapid tests that rapid test cannot work there is a lot of false negative. PAHO WHO hasn’t confirmed of any lab or any test that we can say yes. I had a meeting last week with PAHO and Central America everybody is saying you know what just hold on on the rapid test let’s just hope that there is one of them that would be available soon but as it is we are only doing the normal test.”
The latest figures on testing for the last twenty four hours are yet to be released from the ministry. We can tell you, however, that up to 3pm on Sunday, April 26 there were nine hundred and thirty six patients tested and thirty four under investigation. The good news is that we have another recovered patient to add to the list. This puts Belize as having 18 positive tests including two deaths and six recovered patients.