Since the relaxation of the COVID-19 measure at the start of April, new infections of the coronavirus have been at a minimum, but tonight, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has raised concern about a ballooning of infections, particularly in the Belize and Cayo Districts. The Ministry confirmed in a release this evening that the steady increase has been recorded during the span of the last four days. Minister Kevin Bernard spoke to our newsroom via telephone and explained that while we are free to move about the country, we should do so safely.
Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness: “One of the things I always say, Hipolito, is that we must always ensure that people are doing their part. Yes, we saw over the weekend the number of cases rising from the 7th, 8th, and 9th. Recall that we now, on the Mondays, we report a three day weekend numbers but when you look at the, break it down into the daily figures, it’s still relatively low compared to what they used to be: high numbers. But what we want to remind our Belizean people is that COVID is still here. It has not gone away. We want to encourage people to continue to practise social measures in terms of their social distancing, you know, washing your hands regularly. We encourage people and I, as the minister, continue to encourage people to wear their masks if they need to. Yes it’s optional, while the restrictions have been lifted but if you don’t feel comfortable, wear your mask. You know, this is something that both myself and earlier today when I met with the Chamber of Commerce President, you know, that is one of the concerns that was raised to us, in terms of businesses requesting persons to enter their facilities with masks and as I had said clearly, that is a prerogative or a requirement of the business them. Not because it’s not in the law does not grant a bank or an institution to make certain policies on their own. But what we do at the ministry, Hipolito, is that we just want to constantly remind our Belizean people that there were 600+ persons who died from COVID and we need to keep reminding Belizeans that we must also continue to protect ourselves. Protect our younger children. Protect our loved ones, our elders. We are working very hard to also continue to encourage our vaccinations. We know that on the 23rd of May we are to receive 124,000 Pfizer paediatric vaccines for the younger children so that we will be able to administer from ages 5 to 11. Of course we are working, we will be working closely with the Ministry of Education, with the teachers, parents and principals from the different institutions to see how we can collaborate but at the end of the day, we just have to keep in mind that COVID is here and we cannot leave our guards down and take things for granted. It has taken so many lives. One life lost is too many and so six hundred plus lives lost over the last 2+ years is so, is quite a lot. So we want to encourage people to keep practising many of the measures that were put in place before on your own if you have to. But we encourage people to do their part and make sure that you keep safe.”
Today fifty-four new COVID-19 cases were recorded. The number of active cases is at two hundred and thirty-nine, with the Belize District accounting for thirty and Cayo reporting thirteen new infections. Belize’s death toll stands at six hundred and seventy-six./