The government is considering a total lockdown of the Belize District save for Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. And that’s because the number of COVID-19 cases is exploding country wide. Concerns, however, are concentrated in Belize City which today again recorded the highest number of new cases. The number of active cases of COVID-19 increased on Friday when the Ministry of Health and Wellness tallied eight-one samples testing positive. Those new cases however were partially offset by fifty-six recovered patients. With the new report, active cases are at eight hundred ninety-four, up from eight hundred seventy yesterday. Unfortunately, one more Belize has died from complications due to the coronavirus, bringing the death toll to three hundred fifty-one. Today Prime Minister John Briceno told the media that his government is seriously contemplating a shutdown of the Old Capital if Belize City residents continue to break COVID-19 regulations.
John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “When you have people lining up in their vehicles, in the back of their pickup trucks in front of those big stores in the city and buy beer by case and sit down there and drink which is illegal and even the stores should be sanctioned and these people drinking out there and when that kind of action continues that’s being irresponsible. When you continue to have parties at your home and inviting friends to come over at your house and they have a big party that’s being irresponsible. When you have big wakes and big repasses this does not help. I think restaurants now in Belize City will only be takeout and 50% outside but no eating inside the of the restaurant. We have to take some of these drastic measures to be able to control the COVID. With the BPOs, the call centers we have met with them and they have agreed to limit to 50% of their employees to go to their actual worksite and the other 50% can stay home and to work from home and they also agreed and they will ensure that those who report to the work site have to be vaccinated. With the casinos we have said, and we’ve met with them already and said that all of their employees must be vaccinated, no more than 50% and those that come in have to be vaccinated. We’re doing more and more of this but if Belize City does not try to help us in control it we may have to to a lockdown, we don’t want to go there. The doctors are telling us we have to do it but we’re trying to work with the community because we know that lockdown has severe economic implications on people and we don’t want to get there but we are appealing to the people please help us. We’re spending millions of dollars in trying to protect you but if you don’t help us to protect you then what can we do ?”
Reporter: Lockdown of the Belize City or of the whole country ?
John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “Belize district with the exception of San Pedro and Caye Caulker.”
Five hundred nine samples are still under investigation. Of the new cases reported today, thirty-one were in Belize District – twenty-one of which were here in Belize City. Another five cases were recorded on San Pedro. There were twenty-five cases in Cayo District, twelve of which were in San Ignacio and another four in Belmopan. Of the eleven cases in Orange Walk District, six were in the town. Toledo, Stann Creek and Corozal cases were all in single digits. Seventeen people are hospitalized including four in intensive care.