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Belize & CoVid-19: Updates Including International Airport Opening CANCELLED

I will be updating this as news comes out:

3pm, Government Press Conference with Prime Minister and Minister of Education

Start with Dr. Manzanero, the testing and the science – yesterday 148 samples were processed/tested countrywide – a new record.

15 new cases were diagnosed yesterday, August 4th, 7 in Orange Walk, 7 in Corozal and 1 in San Pedro (symptomatic but not related to case 57 over the weekend.  Believed to be linked to a church gathering)

Extensive contract tracing – includes family reunions, large parties – making things more complicated.

Preliminary results = 14 new cases in San Pedro today.  So there would be 16 active cases in San Pedro in all.  

Tracing can go back as far as the beginning of July – including weddings, fishing tournament and other “Super Spreader Events”

Minister of Education:  In light of the spread in cases and overall uneasiness on part of teachers and parents – school date August 10th is POSTPONED.

Prime Minister:  “What’s going on now is a consequence of our own actions… At the end of the State of Emergency, people went haywire apparently… You can’t throw 500 person events…that encourage licentious behavior…and think that we won’t pay a price”

“Are we going to wait for people to start dropping like flies for, as a people, to exhibit the strong discipline this situation requires?”

Today, they are NOT able to say if there will be partial or total lockdowns – the Prime Minister’s sense is we should have less of a worry regarding Corozal (these cases have been isolated) but more of a worry about Orange Walk and San Pedro.

There will be a National Oversight Committee meeting to decide on the legal restrictions for potential community spread in Ambergris Caye and Orange Walk.

Ambergris – where the “bacchanal took place in earnest” – testing and tracing is not yet complete.  14 new cases have been identified but will need to be confirmed tomorrow.

(In recap, on Ambergris Caye, we had a case identified on Sunday – Case #57.  They are now calling her husband the potential Index Case)

This following about the private plane was later walked back by the Prime Minister.

Apparently people from Texas were flown in to buy condos by the Index case on Ambergris Caye.  AYE!  This is all getting….involved and complicated!  How were they able to fly people in?!

(Apparently, private jets were allowed if they had PCR tests and left after 48 hours?  That…seems…questionable to me)


Update:  11.45am, August 5th:  An additional case has been identified on Ambergris Caye unrelated to the first (also known as Case #57 in Belize).   So now we have two active cases on the island – and 50-60 more tests pending (read the details here in last night’s new broadcast).  There is going to be a press conference at 3pm today.  You can watch here.

Tune in at 3:00 p.m. today for a live stream of the Prime Minister’s Joint Virtual Press Conference with the Minister of Education Hon. Patrick Faber for an Update on the COVID-19 Situation in Belize.

Yesterday, Scotia Bank closed due to a few employees with flu-like symptoms and a few other  businesses have closed for a few days as we wait for details.

Update 10:35 am, August 4th:  The 10 am press conference is underway – it is being held by Dr Manzanero, Belize’s Director of Epidemiology.  They are telling Belize to GET SERIOUS about distancing, reporting illness, and masks.  This is NOT a time to take it easy and party before the airport opens on August 15th.

They are doing an update on the cases in Corozal and in San Pedro.  The San Pedro case is a woman who first presented symptoms in mid-July so there is an extensive tracing exercise taking place.  There are 50 swabs on the way to Belize City for testing – results will be out later today/tomorrow.  Tracing is on-going.

Any decisions will be made on SCIENCE.  We are asked to minimize large social events and be safe and wait for the results!

You can watch the press conference in the link below!

Good morning all,

I’ve been working on my monthly newsletter for July but things just keep changing…so I thought I’d send out a quick note to the World Wide Web.  (You can sign up for mailing list – daily posts – and/or monthly newsletter below)

There is a National Press Conference today, August 4th at 10am.  See the press office facebook page to watch.

Since the closing of borders and the airport at the end of March, Belize has been incredibly fortunate.  Almost all cases (which numbered in the high 20s by the end of June – including two deaths), were traced and contained.

But in the last month, cases have risen sharply – primarily through illegal border crossings over our northern border with Mexico.   (Historically there has been a pretty robust trade in contraband…anything from cigarettes to avocados)

And over the weekend, an active case was diagnosed on Ambergris Caye.   The first positive test in many months. This person has had extensive contact with others – and yesterday, 50 tests were done on the island.  Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 5th results will be given.  But there are 4 already that look like they could be positive cases (“showing likely symptoms”).  Some businesses have been closed on Ambergris Caye.

Rumors are FLYING on the island.  That we will be shut down, that flights have been canceled by the airlines.. that people are leaving the island in large numbers this morning anticipating a lock-down…THESE ARE ALL RUMORS UNTIL THE PRESS CONFERENCE.

With schools set to open next week and the International Airport re-opening on August 15th – WITH HEAVY RULES AND PROTOCOLS.…people are….highly strung right now.

Belize’s #1 PRIORITY from the top down and from the bottom up – from me talking to my friends in Belize – is SAFETY FIRST.  With our small healthcare infrastructure, with many families living in smaller spaces (single bathrooms) and many generations. and with numbers in countries around us…somewhat shocking, people are nervous.

Our Prime Minister set a goal of zero deaths from COVID-19 – and while that may not be 100% realistic, I think it’s an amazing goal.

Many Belizeans I know would rather buckle down and “be poor again” than open the borders.

That’s all I have this morning.  I just wanted to let you know what I am hearing and seeing…be safe everyone!

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