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Will Tourism Excluded Areas Become COVID Hot-Spots

The new COVID-19 regulations come into effect Sunday, September 19. These new regulations include a curfew imposed countrywide from 7:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. except for San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Placencia and Hopkins, where the curfew will remain from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., and restaurants will only be able to provide takeout service, except for restaurants in San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Placencia and Hopkins. These are tourism hotspots and important to the recovery of the economy and we asked the Taskforce if this is counterproductive.

Dr.Deysi Mendez, CEO, Ministry of Health and Wellness: “I think you can see that the economic recovery hasn’t been focused only in the economy but also looking at the health factors and the decision to go is we have to look into the social benefit and good for the people we serve and so far the response in managing the pandemic with the tourism has been positive and has worked. It’s working, hence we cannot have the scenario is that similar countrywide. The implication of the new regulation is where much attention and much control is needed so that we can preserve lives and we can better respond to the pandemic. I guess I don’t know Dr.Sabido would like to further add into the new measurements and that standpoint.”

Dr.Julio Sabido, Member, COVID19 Medical Task Force: “I’ll just add that as a physician I can understand that we have to balance economy and health. Bear in mind that all these nurses, physicians and other cadre of health care workers that the Office of the Prime Minister has given support to hire comes at a cost and so the money has to come from somewhere.”

Reporter: Was it the task force that recommended that these tourists destinations be exempted from the new regulation ? I ask because wouldn’t that be counter productive because then what might happen is that these areas might become COVID hotspots because Belizeans who are running away from regulations might run to these areas taking the virus with them.

Dr.Julio Sabido, Member, COVID19 Medical Task Force: “So the answer to that is no it was not the Medical Response Team that made those recommendations.” 

Reporter: Now in terms of that two week period. Two weeks because for someone to clinical recover from COVID it’s ten-fourteen days? And so what happens when after two weeks nothing has really changed ? Would then the task force recommend that a total countrywide shut down be implemented ? 

Dr.Julio Sabido, Member, COVID19 Medical Task Force: “Mr.Novelo the recommendations coming from the World Health Organization do not or are not advocating for any total country lockdown and I think I can speak for the Medical Response team that if we see that it has not subsided to the point that we can get some form of relief at our medical institutions then we will continue to recommend to the government that more – either we extend it or implement measures for where the hot spots are but at total country lockdown is not recommended.”