Meanwhile, the Minister of Health and Wellness Kevin Bernard has signed off on S.I. 100, which relates to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry has recommended to Cabinet that all restrictions in place should be removed, allowing Belizeans to move about freely. Given that there are still sizable numbers of new cases each day, the press asked Prime Minister John Briceno about the response. He said that the lockdowns we saw in 2020 and 2021 are off the table.
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “We’re not going to have a lockdown that’s for sure. What the Minister of Health informed Cabinet that the new variant it spreads faster but it is less dangerous and thirdly the infectious rate is down from five days to between one and three days so the Ministry of Health has recommended to Cabinet yesterday to remove all the restrictions that we’ve had. When it comes for instances to the issue of vaccinations I mean every adult that had wanted to get vaccinated could have gotten vaccinated, those that have not it’s because they simply don’t want and unless if we pass a law which would create other problems we have decided to remove those restrictions and allow Belizeans to be able to leave the country if they are not vaccinated.”
As it relates to the new statutory instrument, which came into effect yesterday, medical institutions, that wish to conduct COVID-19 testing, must apply for Ministry approval. In addition, to claim sickness benefits, one must get a confirmatory test only from the institutions, which have been approved by the Ministry. Medical facilities that do not apply and are still conducting COVID tests have committed an offence and will be fined five thousand dollars. Those who wish to import home testing kits must also receive a permit. Those importers who fail to get the required permit will also be fined five thousand dollars and those kits will be confiscated. Those in the business of creating fake vaccine cards are also committing an offence and can be fined five thousand dollars or jailed for two years.