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Minister of Health Clarifies how his Ministry Categorizes a COVID-19 Death

The COVID-19 death toll now stands at five hundred and fifty-eight because two more people have lost their lives. According to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, their message continues to be that everyone must get vaccinated.

Michel Chebat, Minister of Health and Wellness: “If you take a look and you see what’s happening with the cases in this country, the amount of deaths that we’re having the vast amount of people who are dying are people who are unvaccinated. We continue to believe in the vaccination. We continue to believe that it is your first line of defense and so that certainly our public servants, our essential workers who are out there with the public the entire day all day we need to protect them. As you know Marisol across the world governments are moving to makes sure that the public servants are fully vaccinated and so this is in line with really the global trends.”

Most of today’s new cases were in the Belize District, which recorded thirty-five, which includes twenty-one in Belize City and four on San Pedro. As for the deaths being reported by the Ministry, there were concerns as to who is categorized as a COVID-19 death. Minister Chebat explained.

Michel Chebat, Minister of Health and Wellness: “It’s not an error. What is happening is that the way the deaths are reported before the Epi unit reports it they must first receive into the BHIS system a death certificate which shows the cause of death and it is based on that then they make a determination if the person died from COVID or not so it was not an error but we felt it was important for people to understand that not because we’re reporting the deaths on the day means the person died on that day. I think there was a little bit of a confusion and so people were feeling ‘God we have ten today, yesterday we had elven, we had ten before.’ and so for us it was important to really reach out and to give an explanation to the public that is all it was.”

Reporter: Why wasn’t this clarified earlier though because this death per day issues the Ministry could have been addressing this many months ago and it creates that distrust that information is being withheld. 

Michel Chebat, Minister of Health and Wellness: “Yes correctly so and I agree with you it is something that we should have dealt with a while back and correctly so yes.”

Come Monday, there will be an adjustment in the curfew hours. According to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, we will get an extra hour to get home during the weekdays. Minister Chebat spoke on why this adjustment was important.

Michel Chebat, Minister of Health and Wellness: “At not this Cabinet meeting but at the Cabinet meeting before a decision was made to increase maybe the curfew time to move it from nine to ten o’clock and that would be from Sunday to Thursdays so that’s gonna be from ten to four in the morning and then Friday and Saturday it’s gonna be from eleven to four. I expect that this will continue into January. We want this to remain in place for a while because we’re hoping that th trend we’re currently seeing is gonna continue throughout the Christmas holiday.”