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Specials and Events
Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, Reef TV, KREM, and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Belize Now, Talk Ah Di Town, and other specials.
The San Pedro Sun
Landlords asked not to vacate tenants during this crisis
In light of the COVID-19 crisis, many people in the tourism industry were laid off, and as many are originally from the mainland, they tried to leave their rentals to return home. However, after the revelation that a positive case was identified on Ambergris Caye, the Government of Belize issued a state of emergency, halting traffic [to and] from the island. Unable to return to their rentals, and with many unable to pay their rent due to no work, there are ongoing reports of landlords trying to kick out tenants from their apartments/rooms.
BEL Reaches Out to Customers in Time of Crisis
assures our customers and the public that we remain fully committed to our mission to deliver safe, reliable and sustainable electricity service to customers in all communities across Belize, especially during the looming COVID-19 crisis.
We provide electricity to almost 100% of households, businesses, industries and government institutions, including hospitals, in Belize. In almost all cases, BEL is the sole provider of electricity to these our customers.
Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and Immigration and Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Sign Agreement on Cooperation in Breeding Sheep and Goat Project
A cooperation agreement between the Government of Belize and the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) was signed on March 26th, by the Hon. Senator Godwin Hulse, Minister of Food and Agriculture, and Immigration and H.E. Remus Li-Kuo Chen, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) for a four year “Breeding Sheep and Goat Production and Guidance System Enhancement Project”.
CXC Reveals COVID Strategy, Parents And Students Called To Attention
The Caribbean Examinations Council® (CXC®) stands in solidarity with the region and the international community as we grapple with the impact of COVID-19 on our way of life. During the past two weeks, we have been monitoring developments across the CARICOM region and working closely with representatives from the Ministries of Education and tertiary institutions to arrive at a regional consensus for the administration of May/June 2020 examinations.
Various Belizean Sources
Attempted movement of people from San Pedro to Caye Caulker
It has been brought to our attention by concerned civilians of Caye Caulker that an incident regarding a boat movement happened this evening at 6:33PM Thursday, March 26th 2020. Reports are that a vessel came from Sanpedro to pick up an individual who was in another vessel coming from Belize City belonging to Ocean Ferry. In the boat that came from sanpedro, there were a number of individuals coming from the island who were granted permission to dock and exit the vessel.
Markets are up and running!
Health and safety measures did not shutdown operations but have given the authority to do so if it becomes necessary. Head over to the National Agriculture and Trade Show Grounds in Belmopan for your produce. During your shopping, remember to practice social distancing and be sure to sanitize and wash your hands after returning home.
Paradise Theater playing this weekend
i guess we're closed this weekend. Shame cause we've got some great movies. ..... of course.
Suspension of Routine Services by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
In support of the Government of Belize’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be closed for all walk-in and routine services. Any business that requires meeting the Ministry’s staff in-person, including requests for authentication of documents, will be done by appointment only. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will otherwise continue with normal operations.
Office of Director of Health Services COVID-19 Update
The further 7 samples tested today for COVID-19 have turned out to be negative.
This brings the total number of tests to 89.
Samples were from Corozal, San Pedro and the Southern Health Region.
Please contain to exercise adequate social distancing and with the weekend upon us, do avoid being out on the streets unless it is absolutely necessary for you to be out.
The containment of any further cases depends on us.
Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow welcomes Cuban Health Professionals
Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow officially welcomed the “Henry Reeve” International Contingent of Cuban Health Professionals at a brief reception tonight.
Hope Haven gifts tank of potable water to San Mateo Residents
Hope Haven has been generously gifted a 300-gallon tank of potable water to distribute to residents.
At 1PM on Saturday, March 28th, volunteers will be at Somos Restaurant & Bar, in Boca del Rio by the park, distributing water to San Mateo Residents.
Each day water will be distributed in a different area. Distribution is 3 gallons per family (for an estimated total of 100 families), and volunteers are asking 1 person per household to come out to fill their gallons. Please practice social distancing (6 feet apart) when lining up!
San Pedro Garbage Collection Schedule
San Pedro City Council informs the general public that our daily garbage collections will now be limited to 3 collections per week: MONDAY, WEDNESDAY and FRIDAY, effective immediately.
We have limited collections to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees, as we do not want them exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19).
We urge everyone's cooperation to bag
adequately your trash and put it properly in the
Dumpster to avoid trash spill.
Burning of Household and Yard Waste is Prohibited
The Department of the Environment (DOE) continues to receive reports of the burning of household and yard waste in both urban and nual areas. This prevalent and harmful practice continues to greatly reduce the air quality for residents and threatens life and property from fires, especially around this time of the year, due to the dry season.
The burning of waste emits invisible but harmful substances into the air that are breathed in by residents in nearby conununities, including vulnerable persons such as the elderly, babies, and those suffering from respiratory diseases.
National Health Insurance Press Release: COVID-19
NHI has been coordinating with the Ministry of Health and the COVID 19 Task Force in the fight against the present threat being posed by the SARS coronavirus 2 pandemic. In an effort to protect and safeguard our frontline health care providers that may be needed in an event of COVID 19 cases coming to the assigned health care facilities for treatment, we are asking that you STAY AT HOME and observe the guidelines established by the Ministry of Health for social distancing and self -isolation!
Cuban Doctor and Nurse arrive on Caye Caulker
Today the Caye Caulker Health Team and the Caye Caulker Village Council welcome one doctor and one nurse to Caye Caulker from the Cuban Brigade to assist in preparation for Covid 19.
We would like to express gratitude to:
Caye Reef for accommodation,
Go Slow Golf Cart Rental for golf cart and getting the new doctor and nurse mobile.
BTIA COVID 19 Food Drive
Many families and individuals in our community are currently faced with the challenge or providing basic food supplies and cleaning agents for themselves and their families and we want you to help us help them?
Whether you’re an individual or business, we would like for you to join this effort by donating non perishable food items and cleaning supplies for us to help those most in need.
You can also help by suggesting someone that can benefit from this. Contact us to find out more via telephone at either 671-0740 or 614-4910.
NEW ROARING CREEK BRIDGE OPEN
For those of us who constantly drive through this area, the new Roaring Creek Bridge just past the Belmopan roundabout is open and fully operational. Traffic is now flowing smoothly in what was once a painful bottle neck due to the narrowness of the old bridge. This bridge was an essential structure as it is the only all weather structure that connects the east and west side of the country. Stay safe and Drive Safely!
BEL now on WhatsApp!
Belize Water Services Limited: Public Notice
To comply with the Quarantine Order for the Country of Belize, BWS’ Belize City office will be temporary closed to the public on Saturdays effective March 28, 2019 until further notice.
BWS encourages customers to utilize telephone and electronic means of contact to conduct business and to utilize online banking to make payments.
INSTITUTE OF ARCHAEOLOGY Notice to all tour guides, tour operators, hoteliers, tourist, locals, the general public
This letter serves to inform the general public and all stakeholders, in particular those involved in cave exploration and tour-guiding in caves that we have received numerous reports of unauthorized use of several caves in Belize. Given this situation. the Institute of Arehaeology. NICH hereby informs all tour operators, tour guides, hoteliers, local communities, landowners and other related tourism stakeholders of the following:
Maximón is a Maya deity represented in various forms by the Maya people of several towns in the highlands of Western Guatemala. Oral tradition of his creation and purpose in these communities is complex, diverse, and born of the ancient Maya traditions centuries ago.According to some legends, Maximón was an elder who reincarnated to protect his people. During the Spanish Conquest, an elder named Ri Laj Mam, upset by the evils of the Spaniards, encouraged his people to start a rebellion. He was eventually executed, but returned to life in the form of a judge named Don Ximon, who fought to give land back to the native people of Guatemala . There are other versions of Maximo story .
MAXIMO eBOOK + online classroom
The Image Factory Art Foundation announces the launch of the eBook version of MAXIMO: The Last Alcalde of San Jose Yalbac written by Carmen Carrillo and Delmer Tzib, illustrated by Carlos ‘lito’ Quiroz and edited by Melissa Espat.
After the COVID19 crisis subsides we will plan a launch of the printed book in the village of Nuevo San Jose Palmar, Orange Walk District. For now, we are starting a conversation with the community.
Culture in the time of Covid: A View from the Caribbean,
by Nigel Encalada
The new coronavirus, Covid-19, is of great concern to Caribbean people and culture. At the time of the writing of this article, the Johns Hopkins website which tracks the Covid-19 virus is reporting a total of 510,000 cases and close to 23,000 deaths globally. In the Caribbean, including Cuba and Suriname, there are 992 cases and 20 deaths being reported. Relatively speaking, the numbers are small when compared to other regions but the social and economic impact is huge.
Index Case's Mother Is Over 65
Tonight Belize still only has two confirmed cases of COVID-19 both in San Pedro town. They are 38-year-old "patient zero" and her mother who we today learned is over 65 years old.
They remain in self-quarantine on San Pedro which is under a state of emergency lockdown. Dr. Marvin Manzanero who is the director of the Ministry of Health's Epidemiological Unit gave an update on the health of both women at today's "ASK THE EXPERTS" session in Belmopan:
86 Tests, 84 Negative
And as you heard, that "contact tracing" extends to their immediate family. Dr. Russel Manzanero gave us an update on those tests and the wider batch of 86 tests that have been run so far.
"Up to date and currently in real time we're actually processing additional samples for COVID. To date we have actually screened 86 samples for COVID, of which we know it's the same 2 that have remained positive, the index case and her immediate contact. We do know that areas are being screened right now, we have 3 samples that were screened from Belize City, 3 from Corozal and one from the Stann Creek district. So 4 of those are already negative that we're seeing and the other 3 are being ran right now."
A Season Of Two Flus
And screening is also being done for people who show up with the regular flu. You may or may not know it, but we are in the height of the annual flu season, which is being treated with more vigilance because of the prospect of COVID-19. Dr. Russell explained how they're managing the co-occurrence of two flu's:
"Do remember that we are in the flu season, we are having an increase in cases, with that though we need to be very cautious as how we're managing these and looking at these cases..."
Stuck On San Pedro?
And in the coming weeks, those who are stuck on San Pedro definitely don't want to be there. As we've been reporting, a number of persons were caught off guard by Monday's sudden declaration of a lockdown for an island. That stopped all flights and water taxi runs. A number of islanders were stuck in the city, and a number of persons from the mainland were stuck on San Pedro. They desperately wanted to leave and Dr. Marvin Manzanero explains that a few have, but the departure of persons from the island is controlled on a case by case basis.
Is A Crowded Bus Safe?
The few who have left the island include persons who require dialysis, who are pregnant and who have congestive heart failure.
And while movements off the island are tightly controlled, movements on the mainland are getting there, and that's because the entire COVID-19 crisis is keeping students and workers at home. That's reducing commuter traffic, making some runs financially unsustainable for bus operators.
And then there is the sudden fear of crowds; many regular commuters just don't feel safe being on a jammed bus rubbing shoulders and sharing tight spaces with fellow commuters.
Frontline Workers Face Discrimination
And while some of us are weighing whether we want to take a bus, some health care workers are not even being given that option!
Reports say that some buses are speeding right past health care workers who are trying to get from home to work or work to home.
There are also reports of discrimination against these frontline heroes at some grocery stores in the north and in the west.
Dr. Marvin Manzanero today said it has to stop:
Waiting, Waiting For Medical Supplies
Hopefully, by the time they are activated, a fresh run of supplies will be on hand. Manzaero says that 6 respirators were supposed to arrive today - and that 20 more are on order. We've been hearing about those same 6 respirators for two weeks now, so that one is definitely a wait and see.
And what about other supplies that will be needed for the COVID war ahead? What about personal protective equipment for healthcare workers? Manzanero says it's all on order:
No Calendar Confines For COVID
But that closed border, along with every other closed point of entry is also what may be buying Belize some time. Manzanero discussed the Belize's national strategy of sovereign isolation:..
"Understand that we really have isolated ourselves, the Guatemalan border closed down for more than a week..."
Business As Usual? No Time Soon
And, when will those borders open? Well, Manzanero says, even if the borders and the airport open - don't expect a rush of tourists anytime soon:
"We need to understand that this not going to be business as usual from now on. I think our lives have changed forever and if you see what's happening around us..."
Not Water Into Wine, Rum Into Hand-San
Tonight a local rum factory has single-handedly solved the problem of the hand-sanitizer shortage. Yes, Traveller's Ltd. is bringing a new product to market it's called Sani-bel. In a swift switcharoo, G.O.B's coronavirus task force has given Travellers clearance to switch from distilling rum, to making hand sanitiser.
Cherisse Halsall went onto the distillery floor this morning to find out about Traveller's move to repurpose manufacturing facilities and keep providing employment for all its workers:
This is the Travellers Liquors Distillery on the Phillip Goldson Highway. And while they're known for their flagship products like Coconut Rum and the Elephant Foot, like every Belizean they were hit hard by the COVID-19 economic downturn.
Grocery Stores Adapt To COVID-19
And speaking of essential supplies, we all still need groceries, but in this time of social distancing, what steps should we be taking to make shopping as safe as possible? Well, you can go to the store when it's not crowded, come back at a different hour if it is, bring along sanitizing wipes, and, above all, refrain from touching your face while in the store. It's a lot! And then what are you going to do with your child? Leave them at home unattended?
Certain Belize city grocery stores are taking those anxieties into account, and, starting next week, they are offering both delivery and drive-up pickup of groceries
BEL Helps, A Little
Belize Electricity Limited today announced that it has reconsidered its position on giving Belizeans a break on their light bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company will now be offering credit to over 7,000 of its most needy customers.
Those are the customers who were in the lowest consumption bracket, known as the social classification for their February and March electricity bills. They consumed an average of 60-kilowatt hours or less per month.
City Council Helps, Slightly
And while that's one less utility to worry about for the most needy to worry about, you might still be stressing about paying those upcoming property taxes, both commercial and residential. Well, the City Council is lending its own helping hand by giving 15% discounts on residential property taxes and 10% discounts on commercial property taxes for a 3 month period.
What If...No Imports
But, while Belizeans are preparing to minimize the public health and the domestic financial impacts of the COVID-19, we entertained a what-if scenario where trade between nations is negatively impacted because of the pandemic.
We've regularly reported on the growing external trade imbalance, where the country imports significantly more than it exports. According to the SIB, in 2019, the country imported 2 billion dollars worth of goods, while exporting a little more than 411 million dollars in products.
The Politics Of COVID
So, you might think that with the political leaders John Briceno and Dean Barrow co-charing the COVID national task force, politics as usual would take a brief break from the usual savagery.But, if you thought that, you would be wrong.
That's because, tonight, COVID and politics are all mixed up in the Freetown division. It started with this post from the so-called "Association of Concerned Belizeans" alleging that UDP Freetown Aspirant OJ Elrington has shown symptoms of flu, but has refused to test himself or self-quarantine.
Breathing Through COVID
Last night on the news you heard from counsellor Christa Courtenay speaking about reframing aspects of new COVID realities, and while she gave us the big picture, tonight we'll speak to another councillor about something much more micro. Basically, how do those of us who have to continue working at our jobs during this COVID crisis... how do we even muster the confidence to get on a public bus or cut though a crowd of persons on a crowded sidewalk? Speaking via video call for social distancing purposes, Martine King from Mind, Health, Connect told us about a coping strategy for the little things that freak us out about COVID-19.
Red Cross Ready
And the Belize Red Cross says that it is ready to help the government and people of Belize in whatever way it can during this pandemic.
The humanitarian network say that they've been liaising with their partners from the Ministry of Health and that their staff is ready to answer whatever call for help their office may receive during this era of COVID-19.
Untold Story Of An Unsung Hero
And to ease your mind during the COVID quarantine, or whatever may come, the Image Factory has launched an electronic book with a fascinating, but little known account of indigenous resistance to colonial rule.
The stylishly designed volume is called "Maximo, the Last Alcalde of San Jose Yalbac", and it's available online for free.
It's a mixture of the post caste-war oral tradition brought to life by cutting edge graphic design. It tells the story of how the Nuevo San Jose Palmar Village, in the Orange Walk District.
Teaching In a Time of COVID
We also got a chance to talk with Musa about how he and his SJC students have been continuing their education via online classes from their homes.
As viewers are aware, some businesses and schools have set up online portals to allow for continuous studies and work, while the heightened COVID-19 measures are in place.
He told us that he has been trying to find that balance to keep his students motivated while ensuring they don't get burnt out:
New Rules For Old Laws
And, in our final bit of news tonight, the Judiciary has outlined its full plan for how the court will run during the COVID19 crisis.
First, All jury trials are suspended with immediate effect until further notice, and all jurors are excused.
Second, Video link conferencing will be utilized whenever possible for bail hearings and adjournments for persons on remand.
Third, where persons must attend court in person, the guidelines with regards to gatherings and social distancing will be enforced.
No New COVID-19 Infections; Belize Remains with 2 Positive Cases
Tonight, the country remains on the yellow phase, which is phase one of COVID-19. There are still only two confirmed cases of the virus in Belize and both are in [...]
Update into COVID-19 Patients
So, as you heard just now, there are no new confirmed cases of COVID-19. The index patient and her mom remain in isolation on San Pedro. As you know, those [...]
5000 More Test Kits and Other Medical Supplies for Belize
Another issue covered today by the health experts was the matter of testing kits and other medical supplies that were known to be in limited quantity. Director of Health Services, [...]
B.E.L. Reaches Out to Our Customers in Time of Crisis
Earlier this week, the Belize Electricity Limited said it was making a contribution of one million dollars to assist in combating the spread of COVID-19. Now, the clamour on the [...]
Second Batch of Cuban Doctors Arrives in Belize
The Cuban government has been deploying teams of doctors and nurses to fight the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe. With considerable experience in combating deadly diseases, the Cuban health personnel are [...]
Health Minister Pablo Marin Asks Public to Follow Guidelines
Minister of Health, Pablo Marin told News Five that today’s group will be assigned to the isolation area and intensive care unit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Minister Marin [...]
Travellers Liquors Ltd. Produces Hand Sanitizers
If you have been checking at stores and pharmacies, you would be out of luck for hand sanitizers. The item has sold out just about everywhere, as consumers prepare for COVID-19. [...]
Challenging Times Ahead for Belize
There are two cases of COVID-19 in Belize, but the deadly virus is already having a toll on the way of life. It is an enemy that attacks everyone from [...]
Opposition Leader Says Best Defense Against COVID-19 is Social Distancing
Opposition Leader John Briceño co-chairs the COVID-19 Task Force. Briceño today released a pre-recorded video message, addressing the challenging times that Belize and the population will be plunged into. As [...]
Briceño Says That “Days Ahead Will Not Be Easy”
According to Briceño, the task is daunting and the days ahead will not be easy. If the economy is to bounce back in the shortest possible time, the entire country [...]
Women Remanded for Harbouring Wanted Gang Member
Two women, who were charged on Thursday for Harbouring a Person Wanted by the Law for a Gang-Related Offense, have now joined that person behind bars after Justice Francis Cumberbatch [...]
Man Who Beat Murder Charge Now Accused of Attempted Murder
A man, who just got off a murder charge earlier this month and is facing attempted murder and other charges, was this morning told to apply for bail before the [...]
Delson Carrillo gets Bail for Unlawful Sexual Intercourse
Delson Carrillo today sought and was granted freedom while he waits for his case to be called to trial. He is charged with having unlawful sexual intercourse, which means that [...]
Jason Hernandez Denied Bail for Stealing from Attorney
But a man, who allegedly broke into the law office of former Belize City Mayor, Darrell Bradley and stole artwork and miscellaneous items worth over two thousand dollars, was denied [...]
Police Shoot Burglar in the Foot!
Forty-one-year-old Kenrick Reneau was shot in the foot this morning. The resident of Consuelo Street was shot by police when he attempted to flee the scene of an attempted burglary. [...]
MOH to Explore Other Testing Capabilities in the Near Future?
Almost ninety samples from across the country have been tested for COVID-19. The samples are sent exclusively to the Central Medical Laboratory in Belize City, which is the only certified [...]
DHS on Healthcare Workers and Compensation
The Ask the Experts session by the Ministry of Health is a good source for COVID-19 updates. One of the issues that came up a couple times was the compensation [...]
DHS Calls for Stop to Discrimination Against Health Workers
Doctor Marvin Manzanero also raised concerns about health workers facing discrimination, as well as being aggressed by members of the public. He says that there are reported cases in the [...]
Will Our Neighbors’ COVID-19 Situation Affect Us?
And while many of us may be tired and frustrated by all the new measures put in place, they are necessary. Doctor Marvin Manzanero says that we may have to [...]
Keeping Kids Busy During COVID-19 Closures
As more stringent measures are put in place to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, life as we know it is different. With the closure of schools, lay-offs and work from [...]
COVID-19 and Resident Minors at Children Homes
Protocols have been installed at children’s homes across the country as the Ministry of Human Development prepares home managements for COVID-19. On average, COVID-19 is milder on children than it [...]
Liberty Foundation Protecting Its Staff and Resident Minors from COVID-19
Belize is currently in phase yellow and the virus is contained on San Pedro, where the first confirmed case infected her mother. Since then, there has been a nationwide quarantine [...]
BERT Ambulance is Prepared & Ready for COVID-19
The novel coronavirus has spread so quickly that the United States is now the country with the highest number of cases and the pandemic is wreaking havoc with the death [...]
Church Bells Ring as Pope Delivers Blessings in Response to COVID-19
At eleven a.m. Belize time; echoes of churches bells rang across the world. The Catholic churches joined in the event, at the request of Pope Francis, who delivered blessings from [...]