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Minister of Health Gives an update on COVID-19 Numbers

Today the Ministry of Health and Wellness reported that there are five new cases of COVID-19, with five new recoveries and zero new deaths. These new cases are from a batch of five hundred and thirty-eight tests that were done within the last twenty-four hours. The Ministry has also updated its vaccination statistics and notes that a total of ten thousand six hundred thirty-four persons have been fully vaccinated. Today, the Minister of Education Francis Fonseca also gave an update on the number of teachers that have been vaccinated.

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education: “” 55% so far. Again it’s not where we want to be but it’s progress. About six weeks about it was 30% so it’s grown by 25% just in the last six weeks and again we hope that we could open schools fully in September and that by that time we will have that number up to 80% or more.”

While COVID-19 infections remain relatively low and the spread remains manageable, today Health and Wellness Minister Michel Chebat stressed on the importance of public cooperation. He reference last week’s concern in connection to the casino covid cluster and the quick response of health personnel. Chebat says that adherence to the COVID-19 regulations plays a vital role in keeping infection rate low.

Michel Chebat, Minister of Health

Michel Chebat, Minister of Health: “As you all know last week or so we had a little bit of a concern with a spike in Belize City that we saw from Princess Casino but the quick action of the medical team has resulted in no widespread of that cluster so to speak and so the numbers are back down and I’m grateful to the team who are constantly out there conducting surveillance, making sure that people who need to quarantine are quarantined, testing, vaccinating, so we have an excellent team out there. We can set as much regulations as we want in place but if the public don’t accept them, if the public are not receptive and if they don’t follow it then we won’t have any successes. So this is combination of things. This is the public understanding the severity of this virus and accepting that we need to keep our distance, wear our masks, wash our hands and so it definitely has been a major partnership and it is a tribute to them definitely.”

Concerns are growing after the government announced that land borders will be opened for tourists. One health specialist who is the brother of two PUP minister, Dr. Mark Musa shared his views on the matter. He posted on social media that Belize should not open the land borders for ‘Tourists’ because the country is not ready. Dr. Musa points out that the country is poorly vaccinated with only approximately twenty five percent of over eighteen year olds receiving the first dose of the vaccine. The media asked Minister Chebat about it today.

Michel Chebat, Minister of Health: “The vaccine role out is coming out really well. I think there are still some anti vaxxers out there but the majority of people are understanding the necessity to be vaccinated and so we’re happy with what we’re seeing. We continue to push hard, we want our teachers to get vaccinated, some schools have reopened most schools will be reopening in August/ September so I’m calling on the teachers to please get vaccinated you have the lives of the children in your hands, you are the first point of resistance and security for the children please come out and get vaccinated. Our immigration officers who are at the front line please come out and get vaccinated. I know that there are some resistance to it but I assure you that the benefit of the vaccine far outweighs any symptom that you may experience. Dr.Musa is a part of the COVID task team that advises the Ministry of Health and in turn the government and we are not blind to his admissions and his warnings however we feel that in the greater picture that this is something that we can handle. I assure you that if at any point we see the numbers raising to an unmanageable level we are going to take drastic action. Please remember that we’ve had fourteen months where the tourism sector has been completely demolished and annihilated if you want to use the word and there are hundreds and thousands of people who are involved with this part of the economy and it is important to gradually open back up and to give people a chance to get back to work and give our economy a chance. You know our numbers are down, I know we’ve had great successes we want to keep it that way but that means we all have to be vigilant.”