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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
Police Officers restricted from traveling to and from Ambergris Caye
To safeguard members of the Belize Police Department (BPD) following a spike in cases of COVID-19 countrywide, with a possible increase on Ambergris Caye the Department issued a memo on Tuesday, August 4th stating that no police officers will be allowed to leave or visit the caye. The memo explains that if officers assigned to the island are on day off or leave, they will be allowed to return to work. This restriction in movement to and from Ambergris Caye is with immediate effect and will remain in place for the next 14 days.
San Pedro Town residents await results of COVID-19 mapping tests; will there be another lockdown?
Several island residents have been summoned to the San Pedro Care Center (Flu clinic) in the Mar de Tumbo area to be swabbed and then tested for COVID-19, while an extensive mapping continues to take place on the island following positive case #57 on Sunday, August 2nd. The Ministry of Health offered a virtual press conference on Tuesday, August 4th, indicating that around 50 samples from San Pedro will be processed and results are expected to be available Wednesday, August 5th.
U.S. Retiree robbed and injured during a home invasion on the island
Investigations continue into an aggravated burglary that reportedly occurred on Saturday, August 1st, in the San Pablo area of San Pedro Town. Police visited the residence of U.S. National, retired 75-year-old John Wallace, who was observed with a bloody face and body. He told police he was held up by an armed Hispanic male person who stole over $4,000 BZ that he had in his house.
According to the victim’s report, around 2:30 PM on Saturday, while sitting on a chair inside his house in San Pablo, with his front door open, a male person of Hispanic descent showed up with what appeared to be a 9mm pistol.
Conquerors F.C. are Copa San Pedro’s 2020 Closing Season Champions!
It was an easy win for Conquerors F.C. on Saturday, August 1st, when they crushed San Mateo F.C. 7-1 and took home the Copa San Pedro 2020 Closing Season Football Tournament championship. The anticipated final match of the season took place at the Ambergris Stadium.
Conquerors dominated the game from the beginning, giving San Mateo no opportunity with the ball. With full control, Conquerors began scoring one goal after the other. By the time the first half ended, Conquerors were ahead by five goals to nothing.
Fifty Samples From San Pedro Being Tested For COVID-19
During the mapping process for COVID-19 patient #57 identified in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, on Sunday, August 2, sixty (60) individuals were identified of having contact with the 31-year-old female. Out of those, 50 individuals were swabbed and samples have been taken for testing. Results of those samples are expected to be released tomorrow midday, Wednesday.
Various Belizean Sources
Caye Caulker Soup Kitchen day Location
Wednesday, August 5th Meal Pick ups:
Location: Barrier Reef Sports Bar & Grill.
Village: 11:00am - 11:45am.
Bahia: 11:45am - 12:30pm.
Auxiliary Flu Clinic by Mar de Tumbo reopens in San Pedro
If you are feeling unwell with flu-like or respiratory illness symptoms (cough, fever, body aches, loss of smell/taste, etc.) or have had contact with someone with COVID-19, call 672-0911 any time.
Effective immediately, The San Pedro Care Center and flu clinic, located in the Mar de Tumbo area, as show on the map below, is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm to serve you if you have flu-like or respiratory illness symptoms.
The Heritage Education Network Belize is having a fundraiser
For a limited time while supplies last, every donation of $15 or more to HENB will receive a copy of "To the Mountain!", a trilingual, fictional children's story based on actual archaeological research in Belize. If you donate, remember to include your address in the "Notes" so we can mail it to you! All proceeds will go towards education, capacity-building, and skill-building for individuals and small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Thank you for your consideration.
Madisco Product Show Photos
The University of Belize Faculty and Staff Union sent out a release indicating that they continue to engage the University of Belize's administration in mitigation measures.
The University of Belize Faculty and Staff Union (UBFSU) continues to engage the University of Belize's Administration as it pertains to mitigation measures proposed by the UB Administration, brought upon us as an effect of the current global pandemic. The University has endorsed and recognized UBFSU as the sole bargaining agent for its members. As such UBFSU will continue to negotiate with the Board of Trustees and University of Belize Management team as the certified union UBFSU for its bargaining units.
Ministry of Health Identify 15 COVID-19 Cases
Fifteen (15) new COVID-19 cases were identified today as a result of tracking case contacts identified over the weekend. These cases are part of a record number of 148 samples processed in one day. New cases are as follows.
Seven (7) cases have been identified in Corozal. Seven (7) cases have been detected in Orange Walk. San Pedro now has a (1) new case.
Minister of National Security Visits Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve
Minister of National Security Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, accompanied by the Belize Coast Guard, visited an extensive coral reef complex known as the Corona Reef located south of the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve just within our maritime border, which is now a protected area.
The initiative to reserve this area was put forward by the Belize Coast Guard and taken to Cabinet for approval by the Minister of National Security.
Motorcycles Donated to Corozal
Today Mayor Rigo Vellos Deputy Mayor Hilberto Clarke and Councillors presented to our municipality two equipped 2020 Kawasaki Motorcycles provided through the Road Safety Initiative to all municipalities. These are to be utilized by CTC’s Municipal Transport Authority. Four transport officers also underwent training, learning new traffic rules and learning to disassemble and reassemble the motorbikes for proper maintenance. This addition to our Transport Authority is an investment in assets and human capacity.
Aspiring Youth Empowerment Program
HEY YOUTH! Are you interested in being a part of a youth webinar series hosted by CARICOM? The Aspiring Youth Empowerment Program begins August 27, 2020 and applications are now open! They’ll remain open until the 12 August 2020 so click the link and sign up now!
BOWEN & BOWEN IS HIRING. Apply Now!
Working with the OK Tourism Market Webinar
There's still time to register! Want to learn more about the UK Market as it relates to tourism for Belize? The BTB is hosting a free one-hour session with Carol Hay, CEO of McKenzie Gayle Limited, to provide stakeholders with a greater understanding of UK consumers’ and their needs.
Click here to register: https://bit.ly/3ftV9ls
Phase Two Relief Fund Form
Here's the Phase Two Relief Fund Signup Form. Click the link to sign up.
San Pedro’s COVID Concerns: 60 Samples Taken
San Pedro is again ground zero for COVID 19 in Belize - and tonight, health authorities and anxious townspeople are awaiting the test results from 60 samples collected in a first round of contact tracing. That's after a single positive test from a socially active woman, an expatriate with a prominent name, who was confirmed as positive for COVID 19 on Sunday. She is case 57, and her contacts range throughout the island, and could even extend to Placencia. More interestingly, she could have contracted it from her husband, who is a major developer on the island. At a press conference today - the first since March - the Directors of Health Services and the Epidemiology unit told us what is known about case 57, her family and her contacts:
Lining Up to Leave The Island
So, the virus may have appeared on the island from earlier in the month - and it may have come across from Orange Walk. And reports say that as more than 6 persons on the island are being watched closely for possible COVID symptoms. Of course, we won't know if there are any more positives until test results are released tomorrow, but the swirl of sickness and speculation has shaken San Pedro. We are told that everyone is wearing a mask, and as many as 40 businesses shut down and sanitised today - including the Scotiabank branch. A release from SCOTIA says the branch has temporarily closed to facilitate a deep cleaning and sanitisation process. The release adds, that the measures were taken after a number of staff members started exhibiting flu - like symptoms. They are now being treated and evaluated.
OW Case Linked to Contraband
"Where you gonna run to?" - that's how Dr. Manzanero put it - and for sure right now running to Orange Walk or Corozal is not a good move. As we told you last night, the case in Orange Walk is a Santa Marta village farmer, whose wife and family works in the Orange Walk Town market. And while this was an unsourced case at first, the COVID link may prove to be through Mexican contraband, which the infected man purchased from his neighbor.
Possible Exposure At NRH
And that 25 people could include health workers at the Northern Regional Hospital. That's because the farmer who tested positive was reportedly in the general ward for two days as a regular patient before he tested positive for COVID. And, while healthcare workers should - as Manzanero always says - treat everyone as if they have COVID - apparently this wasn't done in this case. The highest standards in personal protection were not adhered to, according to our information.
That Case In Corozal
And that brings us to the other case of concern - the one of a woman police constable in Corozal. Health authorities have not found out where the Ranchito resident contracted the virus - but they do know that she had gone to San Pedro on work duties in the middle of last month. Dr. Russell Manzanero, Epidemiologist, Ministry of Health:"In the case of Corozal, this is being presented in a law enforcement officer. She is twenty-eight years old, resides in Ranchito. When we look at the dates and symptoms being presented, it is quite classic about what we expect - the shortness of breath, fever, joint pain and loss of appetite.
Port On the Precipice Of...?
Tonight, negotiations between the Port of Belize and its staff have been stalled. It's a precarious situation that could mean another complete shutdown because the staff returned to work on Friday, July 31, 2020. Their Rep Will Lambey, during the workers march on Monday, told us that no negotiations by Wednesday would mean a collective decision on the staff's next move. Well, talks were supposed to start today, but the Port put it off until next week. The union's agenda includes six points including: Reinstatement of wrongfully terminated members by Wednesday August 5th 2020.
Getting Rural Newborns Registered
This morning, The Vital Statistics Unit officially launched its new birth registration campaign. They are trying to urge Belizean parents to register their newborns so that the Government can ensure that every child gets access to education, healthcare, and any form of government social support.Whenever children are not registered at birth, they are at risk of becoming stateless in their adult lives, since there is no official record to track their citizenship. The experts say that in Belize, 96% of all children from ages of zero to 5 years-old are routinely registered by their parents. But, it's that 4%, who are from families living in rural communities, that fall through the cracks.
Peyrefitte On Southern Seas
Today, the National Security Minister Michael Peyrefitte, accompanied by the Belize Coast Guard, made an official visit to the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve. He was there to inspect an extensive coral reef complex, known as the Corona Reef, which is located in Belize's maritime borders, south of Sapodilla. This coral reef complex is now a protected area.A government press release says that the initiative to turn this area into a reserve was put forward by the Belize Coast Guard, and it was taken to Cabinet for approval by Peyrefitte as their Minister. On July 30th, Omar Figueroa, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, the Environment, and Sustainable Development, signed the statutory instrument that enshrines the protected status of this ecologically important marine system.
More Returning Belizeans Than Tourists Booked On First Flights
As we told you in our top segment, fear of COVID spread are blanketing Belize tonight - but, it's still full speed ahead to the airport opening on August 15th. But, while everyone is worrying about those American tourists coming out of Houston and Miami, the real concern will be the Belizeans returning. Manzanero said the flight manifests will be filled with familiar names:
The Practicalities of PCR Testing
Belizeans arriving will now be required to quarantine at a hotel for one night while that PCR test is being processed. Originally, they were to wait some hours at the airport while this was done. But, it turns out, that solution is not practical, Manzanero explained why, and what's the change: "In terms of what's happening at the airport, we were particularly looking at doing the Gene Expert because that gives you four tests every 30 minutes..."
Belize Travel App Not Ready Yet
Belizeans who are returning on August 15th and after, still have to fill out the form for the controlled repatriation process before they arrive, and also self quarantine at home after they reach. They are also supposed to download and follow the steps on the Belize Health App - which is mandator for all persons arriving. But, the app won't be ready for rollout at that time. Dr. Russell Manzanero told us more: "The app will be ready, but I'm understanding that the approval of the apps is another process, so that there would be the process and the time to take to actually be ready for use would be in a couple weeks..."
Dr Manza Not Losing Sleep About The Airport
So with the app not ready, and the tracking bracelets not really ready, some folks would just say run for cover and keep the airport closed. But today when we asked Dr Marvin Manzanero squarely, he said that he loses much less sleep about the regulated process at the airport than he does about border jumping in the hinterlands: "If you have a plane load of people coming in, you have 100 Belizeans arriving on Saturday August 15th, the concern you will understand and appreciate are the Belizeans coming back to their families and their communities, so from the health standpoint those are the ones we have to be concerned about and I kept saying that and I know that people are really jelling with the message, I think they are buying into the message, because they want to seem to blame tourists for coming in..."
Could Community Spread Close Schools?
Belize's schools are in a frenzy this week preparing to re-open and finally return to educating children in a strict, caution filled, and resource-demanding environment. And that's just the school's outside of the districts that, over the weekend, had spikes in suspected cases of COVID-19.
What Should Schools Do with A Sick Kid?
But what should teachers and principals do when dealing with students who are exhibiting flu-like symptoms? Babb and her deputy Cecelia Ramirez Smith outlined these guidelines today.
Home School’s Ground Rules
And while those instructions might offer some small comfort to teachers it's a scenario that many parents don't even want to contemplate. That's because one confirmed case in a primary school could have far-reaching consequences for multiple families and entire communities.
Beating The Virus, Not The Heat
The kids who do return to school can add sweltering temperatures to their educational challenges. That's because Ministry guidelines have banned the use of standing fans in classrooms as an aerosolization risk.
Dr Manza Says Opening Schools In January Will Likely Be Worse
And what does the Director of Health Services have to say about opening schools next week? He says there's no time like the present because the future is likely to bring more COVID cases: "We have to understand that these are new norms because I hear people just saying well don't open the school until January..."
Justice League of Former Foreign Ministers?
When five former foreign ministers came out in January of 2019 saying yes to the ICJ, we called them the Fantastic Five. Well, now they're more like a justice league, but the old group - plus Eamon Courtenay who's been subbed in for Dean Barrow - is back with a letter to the Prime Minister. Assad Shoman, Said Musa, Lisa Shoman, Eamon Courtney, and Godfrey Smith, have joined other Belizeans in denouncing the kidnapping of 5 prominent members of the Garifuna Community in Honduras, which occurred about 3 and a half weeks ago.
Belize Zoo Raised Enough Funds
On Friday, we told you about the telethon that the Belize Zoo had planned as a fundraising event. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the trickle of visitor traffic, the Zoo is suffering from a financial crisis. The telethon was a sort of emergency measure to get funding to keep feeding the animals that call the zoo home.The Zoo's administration was hoping to raise $25,000 from that telethon on Saturday afternoon, and they are reporting tonight that the generosity of Belizeans allowed them to exceed that target.
Slaughter of the Peccaries
And while that is good news for wildlife, there's some troubling news coming out of the south. There was an unexplained pecarry kill in the area of Maya Center village. the cause of death for the very many dead peccaries is unknown, but the Ministry of Environment has been investigating since yesterday and should have answers soon.
Agg. Assualt on San Pedro
And in a weekend crime story that we didn't have space for on the news last nightÃ¢â‚¬¦San Pedro police are currently investigating a home invasion that occurred in the San Pablo area of the island. An armed thief broke into the home of a 75-year-old American retiree, assaulted him, and robbed him several thousand dollar cash, which was being stored in a safe.At around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Johan Wallace, a retired US soldier, was sitting inside his home with his front door opened when a masked gunman barged in.
A Robbery Out West
So while the island cops continue to search for those suspects, investigators from the Cayo District are trying to track down 2 known robbers who have been operating in the twin towns. It is believed that they struck again on Friday night at 28 Supermarket, on the Bullet Tree Road.
Salvadorean Criminals Caught in Belize
Two Salvadoran criminals are back home tonight after Belizean Interpol handed them back to their Salvadorean counterparts. They are 34-year-old Simon Balthazar Lopez Vales and 26-year-old Franklin Lopez Mendoza both of whom have served prison time in Belize for immigration-related offenses. Vales has been wanted in El Salvador for Aggravated Extortion whilst Mendoza was wanted for Aggravated Homicide.
BPM to Barrow
Last week at his press conference, the Prime Minister suggested that the PUP - through attorney Andrew Marshalleck was somehow trying to delay the elections by taking a re-districting lawsuit to the Supreme eCourt. Now, the PUP have no hand in the suit, but out is led by the Belize ePeace movement and now, Lord Ashcroft. Yesterday in the House, John Briceno said his party has no part in it:
Persons Leaving San Pedro Amid Fear of Lockdown of Island
The Ministry of Health confirmed today that there is no community spread of the novel coronavirus. It is awaiting results of more than a hundred persons tested for the virus, [...]
The Worrying Case of San Pedro’s COVID-19 Patient
Up to news time, Belize has recorded a total of fifty-seven COVID-19 cases. Of those cases, twenty-four are active. As you know, nine cases were confirmed over the weekend, with [...]
Is There Community Spread of COVID-19 on La Isla Bonita?
So, health officials say there is widespread concern. But is there a case of community spread on that island? The Ministry of Health is not ready to call it that [...]
COVID-19 Patients in Corozal
The Ministry of Health also spoke on the cases in Corozal. The three latest cases in the north are from two persons of one family, who entered the country through [...]
Status of the Latest COVID-19 Patients in O.W.
Moving from Corozal to Orange Walk, two males from that district were among those who tested positive over the weekend. One is a person who entered the country illegally; the [...]
Police Officers Not Allowed to Travel to San Pedro
Back to San Pedro….there is no community spread of the virus, but a number of persons are being tested. As you heard, a female police officer from Corozal is hospitalized [...]
Scotia Bank Closes Temporarily on San Pedro; Staff Exhibiting Flu-Like Symptoms
Today, Scotia Bank issued a notice to say that it has temporarily closed its branch in San Pedro. The release says that the reason for the closure is to conduct [...]
130 COVID-19 Samples Being Processed
The Ministry of Health is on a massive contact tracing exercise across the country, following the troubling cases where persons are not able to determine where they were exposed and [...]
M.O.E. on Schools’ Preparedness
Turning to the Ministry of Education and the state of schools, the ministry says that schools are in high gear preparation mode for the re-opening of schools on August tenth. [...]
Homeschooling is an Option; Parents Must Meet Requirements!
As the COVID-19 cases continue to grow – the concern among many are that schools are not ready and they fear sending their children to school to be exposed to [...]
Family of Keona Ara Fears that They Won’t Get Justice for Her Murder
The family of murder victim Keona Ara is crying out for justice tonight. The eighteen-year-old was killed in a most savage way and her body set on fire and later [...]
No COVID-19 Assistance Programmes for Blackman Eddy Village?
Today, while a News Five crew was in Blackman Eddy Village, located on the George Price Highway near the cut-off to the Iguana Creek Bridge, they caught up with the [...]
Road Works on George Price Highway Affecting Blackman Eddy Village
Road works continue on the George Price Highway in the west where at the cut off to the Iguana Creek Bridge a roundabout is being built. While the much needed [...]
Stevedore Vex with Christian Workers Union
The C.W.U. has just signed a C.B.A., but not all is well in the union. Two outspoken stevedores came forward today to highlight issues they have been having with the [...]
Stevedore Disappointed with President Evan “Mose” Hyde
According to Fuller, several discussions were had with C.W.U. President Evan “Mose” Hyde regarding his concerns. Fuller says that he had hopes that Hyde would address his concerns, but that [...]
Belizeans Want to Travel; Will They Get a Test?
The Director of Health Services touched on a wide range of issues today. Now, as the P.G.I.A. gets ready for reopening on August fifteenth, the Ministry of Health says that [...]
M.O.H.’s Preparation Continues…
The Ministry of Health says that they have acquired a stock of geo-bracelets that, in the coming days, will be tested out. When it comes to the health app, its [...]
PM Says If Tourist Won’t Follow Law, then ‘Don’t Come’
As for the tourists who will be coming into the country on August fifteen and thereafter, Prime Minister Dean Barrow says they will have to follow the laws that have [...]
John Briceño and Patrick Faber Spar in the House
On the matter of the Philip Goldson International Airport, the debate got heated on Monday between Leader of the Opposition John Briceño and leader elect of the U.D.P., Patrick Faber. [...]
Opposition Leader Corrects Prime Minister
The Supreme Court last month ruled in favour of Lord Michael Ashcroft to provide expert input in the case of redistricting. He is an interested party in the case by the [...]
Ensuring Birth Registration for the Prevention of Statelessness
Four percent of the population in Belize is not registered at birth. An initiative to change that was launched today. The Belize Vital Statistics Unit, in partnership with the UN [...]