The Minister of Health is appealing to contrabandistas who illegally cross the border in order to buy and sell contraband goods. The border jumpers, as they are called, have been the cause of seventeen of the last thirty cases of covid-19 in Belize. Since the jumpers were mostly located in the Orange Walk District, two communities were placed under a state of emergency. Minister Pablo Marin stated that the decision to do so is never an easy one, but it is at times necessary.
Pablo Marin, Minister of Health: “When we see situations like what happened in Orange Walk area and we get frustrated and we have to do decisions that are very strong by locking down certain areas. I heard the area representative Mai mention that we shouldn’t do those things in the house I think it is the essential thing to do for us to protect our people and whenever we do a lock down it’s not because we want to but we need to be able to map that area to see exactly who you were in contact with and from there we can say, like what we did in the house, open that area. We had the situation in Guinea Grass I think you heard we had five cases there but when we realized where the person was he was on a farm it looked like the daughter was on the Mexican side there wasn’t so much contact so we didn’t have to do any lock down. So we won’t do a lock down just for sake like, we will look at the evidence and we have our people giving us that advice and from there we take over. I know some people do the contraband because they need it it’s their mean of money coming in but at this time we all have to be very cautious of what we are doing to protect the entire country of Belize.”
Marin was also asked about the collaboration with the Ministry of National Security for more protection at the border points. He stated that it is impossible to cover every access point into the country.
Pablo Marin, Minister of Health: “You can have as much BDF as we have right now controlling but there’s still an area where someone would jump. Then you have Halacte, then you have Arenal all those areas – Belize has a big territory for us to control and it is very impossible to control everything. I have had rumors that people are coming from Four Miles Lagoon coming from Chetumal, some others coming from Consejo so if you look at the map of Belize we won’t be able to control everything but that’s why we’re begging the Belizean people to please just hold on don’t do those things. We still see the numbers increasing in the Mexican side, we still see the number increasing in Guatemala so it is something that at the end of the day if we don’t stop those illegal entries it can affect us.”
19 cases were imported from Mexico, 2 from Honduras, and 2 from Guatemala.