Press Conference with Prime Minister: COVID Cases Still Rising, Distanced Learning Will Begin and No Airport Re-Opening Announced
Today, August 21st at 2pm, the Prime Minister as long as the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and our country’s leader held a press conference to announce updates regarding COVID and Belize.
On Ambergris Caye, we are currently on day 15 of a mandated 28 “total lockdown” due to the outbreak this month.
Dr. Marvin Manzanero, the Director of Health Services at the Ministry of Health
Update on COVID cases – cases still increasing (52 new cases yesterday now starter to spread country-wide – especially OW, Corozal, CC and AC) and 41 cases today
Cayo – 9 (4 in Belmopan)
Belize – 23 (15 in San Pedro)
Orange Walk – 7
Corozal – 2
Updated graphic as of today
Current patients in KHMH: 3 intubated patients, 5 deaths in total
Repatriations: About 100 people arrived today – they will be tested on Day 7 of your quarantine after you arrive in Belize.
Honorary Patrick Faber, Leader Elect and Minister of Education
Originally, schools were to re-open for in person learning on August 10th. That was cancelled/postponed in the first week of August.
Here is the plan for the re-opening of DISTANCE learning:
Now, we will start Re-opening of Schools for Distance learning ONLY Nursery School and Primary for Monday, September 7th – This will be paper-based learning that you pick up from a designated spot. (There are over 300 primary schools in Belize and about 57 High Schools)
Monday, October 5th for other secondary students. Will be done primarily online. Devices will be provided and internet connectivity will be sourced by the Ministry of Education. (They can initially source about 8000 digital devices)
6000 Tertiary Students are receiving Internet Data from the Government for On-Line Learning
There will be NO face-to-face learning for the time being
Honorable Prime Minister Dean Barrow
Mr. Barrow started by congratulating Mr. Faber (calling him “Generalissimo”) and likening him to Napoleon looking over a conquered battlefield after the Russian Winter. (Isn’t that when Napoleon suffered his greatest defeat?)
Current positivity rates are high but perhaps trending down (using today’s 41 positives out of 285 tested) – Prime Minister wants to be an optimist
“Since most cases can be traced back to the original case – we don’t need to be as worried as the large total numbers would suggest…while caution is the watchword…our patterns of behavior are responsible for what is taking place. In that overall context going forward, the new measures…”
NEW MEASURES BEING DRAFTED NOW – GOING INTO PLACE ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 23
Many of these new regulations are in places other than Ambergris Caye. Ambergris Caye has been on “total lockdown since August 7th”
- Curfew adjusted to 9pm to 5am, 7 days a week countrywide (it was 5am to 8pm, weekdays and 5am to 9pm, weekends) unless you are an essential worker
- Spas, beauty salons and barber shops operate by appointment only (I believe they are closed on Ambergris Caye)
- Stop all recreational or competitive sporting events (it was restricted before this)
- No social events, all ceremonies of public worship must stop
- Gyms are closing
In the end, regulations on the mainland (everywhere BUT Ambergris Caye and a few villages in Orange Walk) are just a little bit tighter.
This is for 2 more weeks.
They are hoping to have a handle on this situation after 2 weeks.
Meet the Experts with the Attorney General tomorrow for the details on the new rules and regulations (he will have the details – and is the final authority)
There has been no announcement on the re-opening of the international airport – the numbers will be watched.
And Lastly, on the Weather Front…
I wrote yesterday about a potential tropical storm that was tracking our way. But since yesterday morning, Tropical Depression 14 is moving to our north.
The Navy’s Tropical Cyclone model has him moving up toward Cancun. We are all hoping it is a mild storm.
And today is a still…sunny day on Ambergris Caye.
Don’t even whisper the term Fujiwara Mega-storm. Good grief! That would be SOOOO 2020.