As at news time tonight, Belize remains free of any confirmed case of the COVID-19. What is present, however, are the rumors and fake news of Covid cases around the country. Residents of Orange Walk Town grew concern this morning as reports of a store owner showing symptoms of COVID-19 began circulating in a neighbourhood watch Whatsapp group and then on social media. Those concerns grew when law enforcement and health officials went to the 128 Supermarket on San Andres Street conducting searches and interrogating the family. Before you know it the rumormill started churning and the report was that there was a case of COVID-19 in Orange Walk. The rumor was that the owner of the store, Mr Wu, was smuggled into Belize yesterday evening through Botes by his son-in-law and that he was very ill at home. Our newsroom began seeking answers from health officials and were told that it is fake news. Shortly before one o’clock a relative to the store owner contacted our newsroom to say that the rumors are just that – rumors. She spoke with us via phone to explain the distress the family has gone through and what the health officials were looking for.
Photos and rumors also circulated about the 123 Supermarket on Liberty Avenue in Orange Walk Town. The management of 123 Supermarket issued a release this afternoon clarifying that there is no one sick at the store and that no one there had traveled to any of the restricted destinatnions recently. The release added that the store has increased the frequency of their sanitization practices inside the store and that they have developed an emergency plan in response to the COVID-19 threat. As it relates to COVID-19, only the Government can officially declare a confirmed case in Belize.