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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
From Officer in Charge of the Coastal Executive Unit, Superintendent Christopher Noble
Guys tonight the weather is not our friend I have asked that officers extend courtesies to persons that may need to visit the various docks to secure their boats. While minimal, we are trying to be our brothers keeper and allow all to secure their livelihood. While we extend the courtesies, we encourage all persons to wear their protective gear and be safe
San Pedro DJ Announces Testing Positive For COVID-19
Island DJ Abner Diaz, known as DjSmallz reached out to his community of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, on a Facebook post, announcing that he has tested positive for SARS COVID-19. “Well I am finally here to tell you all that YES I am a COVID-19 Positive ... I just got my results so that’s why I didn’t post anything before. So to you all out there just please wear your mask wash your hands and keep safe.”
Ambergris Caye under quarantine; priority given to symptomatic patients
Residents of San Pedro Town in Ambergris Caye woke up on Friday, August 7th to a 14-day quarantine following an alarming spike in cases of COVID-19. The increase in cases on the island is attributed to community transmission, with further cases to be confirmed. The most vulnerable are being prioritized as islanders continue to flock to the Mar de Tumbo flu clinic for testing. Commercial activities on the island are slowing down, as the lockdown came with strict restrictions, including curfew and the closure of several businesses and construction projects.
Opinion: We need more support and empathy during COVID; say no to ignorance and hate!
While there are many symptoms that are attributed to COVID-19 positive patients, including shortness of breath, extremely high fevers, body aches, loss of sense of smell and taste, there is one that isn’t mentioned. The mental distress – primarily caused out of fear of ostracization, prejudice and sheer ignorance of one’s fellow citizen – can be just as difficult to deal with. It is a completely unnecessary side-effect to COVID, yet it seems to have become the most prominent.
San Pedro Town is under quarantine due to an alarming spike of cases, after months of being free of COVID. However, if we look back to the reactions spurred upon the first case on Ambergris Caye, the level of hate and vitriol unleashed upon the victim, and the demands for her identity was alarming. Belizeans were practically clamoring for blood. One would have thought that COVID was never going to make it into the country, despite being bordered by countries now collapsing under the pressure of their case numbers.
U.S. Embassy And UNICEF In Joint COVID-19 Prevention Project Belize
The United States Government, through the U.S. Embassy and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), announced the launch today of a U.S. $300,000 project to fund UNICEF’s work to reduce the risk and impact of COVID19 for vulnerable children and adolescents in Belize.
During today’s ceremony at the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, the U.S. Embassy announced the launch of its project to fund COVID-19 prevention and mitigation measures through its partnership with UNICEF. Areas of intervention will focus on: risk communication and community engagement; improving infection prevention and control, including with water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services; providing critical hygiene supplies; and data collection and analysis.
Various Belizean Sources
Caye Caulker Soup Kitchen day Location
Social Security closes San Pedro branch due to lockdown
Important Notice: Effective immediately, the San Pedro Branch Office will be temporarily closed to the public for the duration of the 14 day lock-down. Registration Service for new or replacement of Social Security Cards is also temporarily suspended. We remind our customers of the availability of our Online Services for the ELECTRONIC submission of claims to [email protected] and of the online service for payment of contributions. San Pedro Branch Cell Number: 604-1867.
COROZAL: OPEN NOW - THE NUÑEZ DENTAL CLINIC
LOCATION: Phillip Goldosn Hwy, CALCUTTA VILLAGE, COROZAL
QUALITY, AFFORDABLE DENTAL CARE: WORKING HOURS:
Monday & Wednesday - 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday & Thursday - 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Friday - 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Saturday - CLOSED
Sunday - 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Tropic Air Amends Passenger and Cargo Schedule
Due to the National State of Emergency brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, all passenger flights to and from San Pedro have been suspended for at least the next 14 days. Cargo flights to and from San Pedro continue, but the schedule has changed. Likewise, our schedule to and from Caye Caulker has been amended. Passenger and cargo flights to Dangriga, Placencia – Riversdale and Punta Gorda from Belize City remain unchanged. The operational days and times for the flights and for our stations, effective Monday, August 10th, is shared below.
DOE COVID-19 Preventative Measures
Recognizing that some persons carrying the COVID-19 virus may be asymptomatic, the Department of the Environment (DOE) is taking the following preventative measures to limit exposure and reduce the risk of its staff and protect the community from fostering the accelerated spread of COVID-19.
Flood Forecast for August 7, 2020
COVID-19 Update from Office of Director of Health Services
We are releasing until this hour as we are trying to reach the positive cases in the first instance.
A record numbers of tests for one single day was processed today - a total of 214.
The majority of the remaining cases are for now related to the two clusters in San Pedro.
We are still working on the line listing but needed to share this preliminary data for now.
Proclamation Declaring State of Emergency
WHEREAS, section 18 (2) of the Belize Constitution provides that the Governor-General may, by proclamation which shall be published in the Gazette, declare that a state of public emergency exists for the purposes of Part II of the Constitution;
AND WHEREAS, section 18 (3) of the Belize Constitution provides that, in order to have effect, the proclamation must contain a declaration of the Governor-General that he is satisfied that a public emergency has arisen as a result of the outbreak of infectious disease;
AND WHEREAS, section 18 (4) of the Belize Constitution provides that a proclamation made under section 18 (2) may be made so as to apply only to such part of Belize as may be specified in the proclamation;
BELIZE CONSTITUTION (EMERGENCY POWERS) REGULATIONS, 2020
Regulations for Ambergris Caye, Santa Martha Village, Shipyard Village and Guinea Grass Village. REGULATIONS made by the Governor-General in exercise of the powers conferred upon him by section 18(9) of the Belize Constitution, Chapter 4 of the Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2011, and all other powers thereunto him enabling.
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Closed Until Further Notice
Dear Valued Stakeholders and Members of the General Public:
The Hol Chan Marine Reserve ["HCMR"], hereby notifies the General Public that the Marine Reserve will be closed to Visitation as of today, Friday, August 7th, 2020 until further notice. This is in line with the State of Emergency placed on Ambergris Caye by the Government of Belize. We assure you that our Team will continue monitoring and patrolling to safeguard the natural resources of the Marine Reserve and the integrity of our tourism product. We will continue to update the public as changes occur.
We would like to thank our Stakeholders, the Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker Communities for their valued cooperation in the past.
Ministry of Health ReOpens Emergency Operations Center for COVID19
The Ministry of Health has officially reactivated its Emergency Operations Center to support its COVID19 health response. Kindly call us at 0-800-MOH-CARE (0-800-664-2273) hotline, which is free. We will guide you on receiving health support. Please call us first before visiting any health care facility.
Reconstructing the sidewalk of the San Pedro R.C. School
In these dark times, we need a little light and color!
Here's an update on our Sidewalk Project.
Face Masks and Thermometers donated to San Pedro
Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in San Pedro, Mayor Daniel Guerrero presented Superintendent Christopher Noble with a donation of two infrared forehead thermometers and a supply of face masks to help aid the Police Department.
The items presented to the Superintendent were originally donated to San Pedro by the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
Atlantic Bank’s 10th Annual Art Competition
Participate in Atlantic Bank’s 10th Annual Art Competition and Win great prizes! This year there are two categories visit http://atlabank.com/art_competition_1.php for more on how to enter!
Joseph Gray Jr. Scholarship Fund
This is a great opportunity.
ATTENTION PARENTS/GUARDIANS OF COROZAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE
We hope that you are all well and safe. With the recent changes in our country due to the pandemic, our school has had to make changes to our reopening plans.
Take note that orientation activities planned for next week have been postponed until further notice.
Students that have not picked up their Digi device can do so on Monday as of 9:00 a.m.
Please view class lists for the new school year. Students have been placed in a class that has been divided into two groups. For example: 1A-Group1 and 1A Group2
ST. FRANCIS XAVIER PARISH RELEASE
Brothers and sisters, let us continue in prayer as we enter again in set of established protocols set by government, this is to avoid the continuation of the virus spread. At our parish we made some changes to adapt. The following will help us cooperate.
1. Masses and Services will continue.
a. Services in the villages can be done in two separate hours to accommodate
b. Follow the new protocols given by government (Maximum 25 persons, use Mask at all times, distancing) ...
FBB 2021 Community Grant Call
Full Basket Belize is accepting grant applications for community based projects. They have supported scores of projects around Cayo and Belize over the years, as well as providing many high school scholarships. Now's the time to send them grant requests. The deadline is October 2nd. Head to their website for more information. You can see this year's projects on their website:
THE NOHOCH CHEEN, ATM AND BARTON CREEK ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESERVES ARE ALL CLOSED DUE TO FLOODED RIVER CONDITION
PLEASE EXERCISE CAUTION
Helping a Belizean archaeologist conducting research
Good afternoon Belizeans! Once again we are reaching out to you to help a Belizean archaeologist conducting research. This research focuses on Belizean opinions and perceptions about archaeology and cultural heritage in Belize. Please take the time to complete the survey and share it to all your Belizean friends and family!
Atlantic Bank Closes in San Pedro
ATM services remain available.
San Pedro Tour Guide office closes for two weeks
The San Pedro Tour Guide office will be closed for the next two weeks but will continue to share our weekly food pantry !! Please wear a mask properly, sanitize or wash hands regularly and maintain your distance ( 1 Perifeet ) !!! STAY SAFE !!!
COVID Cases Continue To Climb
Tonight - COVID cases are surging in San Pedro where health authorities says there is very active community transmission. And there's also community spread in Santa Marta village - I went there today and we'll have that later on in the news.
Countywide there are 80 active cases - most of them spread across three active clusters in San Pedro. And by the end of the night there will be many more, as 75 samples were taken today from persons showing symptoms on San Pedro. Health authorities say they expect the possible confirmation of another 30 cases could be confirmed tonight.
Here's Dr. Russell Manzanero from the Ministry of Health giving an overview of the numbers countrywide. He spoke a short while ago on Ask The Experts:
Expect Another 30 Cases Tonight
And while the majority of cases are concentrated in San Pedro, the preliminary report from today doesn't look to change that much. Here's Dr. Marvin Manzanero with he latest figures from a short while ago on Ask the Experts:
"We get some preliminary reports earlier. I'll just share that with you. For today there is approximately 180 samples being processed. Of those we have going to confirmation which means that we are going to confirm by a secondary test as well 30. We have 30 that will go on confirmation. From where they are we are not sure yet, I'm just being told that it's not only from San Pedro."
Positive Cases Include Two Doctors
So, the footprint of infection seems to be expanding, and last night's new record of 28 positive cases also pointed to cases in Belize City, Belmopan and San Ignacio.
There was one new case in San Ignacio associated to illegal entry, one case in Belmopan from apparent travel to San Pedro, 3 more cases in the Northern Region, 2 in Santa Marta and one in Orange Walk, and 20 new cases in San Pedro, two of them coming out a a church gathering, and 10 of them related to cluster #1 - who's the expatriate female with a prominent name. Her partner is believed to be the index cases on the island.
And while the numbers now lead a dizzying dance, one arresting fact is that frontline workers, including doctors and nurses are also now showing up with positive cases.
Island DJ Opens Up About Positive COVID Test
That is a sobering message for sure, and a San Pedro DJ has gotten it loud and clear. He is Abner Diaz, known on the island as DJ Smallz. He posted his COVID 19 positive status on facebook today - and we spoke to him about it via phone:
Jules Vasquez, reporter:
"First of all Smallz how do you feel?"
Voice of: Abner Diaz "DJ Smallz" - tested positive for Covid19:
"I am feeling good. The worst already happened the first few days, after that it got smoother and I feel better now."
Jules Vasquez, reporter:
"How did the symptoms feel when you had it? It felt like a regular flu, what did it feel like?"
Long Lines At San Pedro Flu Clinic
And the very many island residents who have had contact with infected persons like DJ Smalls have been lining up at the town's flu clinic. But the wait can last hours, even all day. Our colleague form the San Pedro Sun spoke to one young man who'd been waiting since the day before:
Voice of: Person waiting at Clinic:
"So far it was me and my entire family that has been trying to get tested. I came here by myself whole day yesterday and I was unable to get tested and today finally made some progress..."
San Pedro Clinic Is Overwhelmed
Our colleague from the san Pedro Sun Dion Vansen did that interview, and we spoke to him via Zoom about the situation at the clinic:
Dion Vansen, Reporter, San Pedro Sun
"The clinic over here is getting overwhelmed. According to people that have been there trying to get swabbed they have been turn back because they are trying to focus on people that are symptomatic, because according to them they don't have enough test kits, so they can't test everybody that shows up and say I think I have it. If you have it and you have no symptoms and you are turn back then you might continue spreading it and until you get sick then you will get swabbed and it might be too late."
MOH Will Need To Re-focus Efforts On Belize City
But, many islanders will now have to go without testing. With "very active community transmission" confirmed on the island, the Ministry of Health says it needs to re-focus to Belize City - where there is the possibility of the virus getting a foothold in the country's largest population center:
Lorna Perez, Surveillance Officer:
"We will be changing our strategy somewhat and this goes for the people in San Pedro, I know you are anxious, you want to be tested, but Doc, maybe you could clarify, because we will be looking at other potential areas. Belize City is a place of concern. Right now we have over 100 people waiting to be screened with the cases that came up there are so many more, but the priority is shifting. We need to contained and so we need to look at other areas of potential exposures."
San Pedro, Life In Lockdown
So, basically, the directive to townspeople is: don't come in, just call, and we'll call you back.
A necessary strategy, but not exactly confidence building...and we asked our colleague about the mood on the island which is now in its first day of lockdown:
COVID Across Communities
In our first segment we told you all about what it's like on San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, but that is only one of four communities under lockdown. The others are the Orange Walk villages of Shipyard, Guinea Grass, and Santa Marta.
Tonight they've returned to the strict measures that we all lived under back in March, that means no non-essential travel, not even to their nearest community.
And those restricted movements are being manned by the police who've placed checkpoints at the entrances to all 3 villages. I got to see the checkpoint to Santa Marta firsthand.
Area Rep Says Productive Communities Locked Down
Today, CTV-3 spoke to area representative for Orange Walk South, Jose Mai. He's the representative for many of those villages and he explained that these are communities with people who need to work outside their villages, and there are also agricultural considerations:
Laying Down the Law On Lockdown
And while there are very localised concerns for those rural communities, and San Pedro Town - the Government says a 14 day lockdown of all those areas is a very necessary step to contain further spread of COVID 19.
And, to outline the news rules as only he can, last night, several hours before the new COVID-19 went into effect, Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte made a prime time appearance on the Ask the Experts Webcast.
He laid down the rules and the laws that will pertain in these four communities for the next 14 days:
Keeping Firebun Fed
And, the government is also planning on how to come to aid the residents of the Fireburn Community. Geographically, it is tied directly to Shipyard, since visitors have to travel through Shipyard to arrive there. So, since the lockdown is now in effect, all residents of Fireburn are now effectively cut off from the rest of the country.
The Attorney General said that the authorities have already identified a protocol to get important food and water resources to them:
"There's a village that's next to Shipyard, called Firebun - I think it is. Now, that village, if you shutdown Shipyard, essentially, you're blocking that village because apparently, you cannot go to that village without first entering Shipyard..."
Contraband and Border Jumping Penalties Equalized
And, while there is some special consideration for that small community, there is going to be no consideration at all for border jumpers, contraband smugglers, or those who purchase and consume contraband.
In a draconian crackdown, if you are caught with a single contraband product, you will face the same penalty as a person caught on the Rio Hondo smuggling a wholesale contraband cargo. And that penalty isn't a fine anymore, it's 6months in jail, and no bail at the magistrate's court!
That's like a firearm offence, and the AG explained why government has no more patience for border jumpers:
The Rules For The Rest Of the Country
So, that is the new super-strict regulation for contraband and border jumping, but if you don't get into any of that mess, and if you don't live in San Pedro, Shipyard, Guinea Grass, and Santa Marta, life for the next 14 days will not change so drastically.
But, there will be a national curfew and state of emergency countrywide, and so you aren't free to move and operate as you please.
Here's what the Attorney General had to say about how the SOE and the curfew will work, and what you need to do to stay out of trouble:
Mentally Ill Man Accused of Scalding Cop
Last night we showed you the cop who had been scalded. He was trying to get a pedestrian to put on his mask, and the man threw hot water on the police man.
Seems like an open and shut case of textbook lawless Belize City behaviour, but there is another side to this story. The man - who is now accused of aggravated assault - is Nigel Ferguson. His family says he is mentally ill and has been threatening violence to his family for weeks now.
Coast Guard Goes Blue Lightning
The Belize National Coast Guard has launched a major operation in Belize's northern waters to keep corona virus out of Belize. They've also launched a slick promotional video to showcase their work. Acting Commander Greg Soberanis told us about it today:
Keeping The Waters Clear
Yesterday at the BDF headquarters, Soberanis discussed the vessels that the Coast Guard has had to escort out of Belize:
Soberanis told us that the vessels that have tried to enter Belize's waters have all come from neighboring Central American countries.
Coast Guard and PPE's
And when Coast Guard officers make all these arrests and interceptions, how do they protect themselves? In that promotional video, everyone had on their fancy blue "camo's" - but what do they wear when they encounter a Mexican vessel?
Emergency On the Waters? Call 999
And, speaking to us via Zoom today, Soberanis also told us about a new emergency hotline that the Coast Guard has launched. Instead of calling 911, if you have an emergency on the sea, or if you witness something shady, call 999. He explains:
Keeping Businesses Rolling During SOE
In our last segment we told you all about the personal restrictions on movement during the state of emergency which went into effect at midnight.
Well, the National State of Emergency also comes with some regulation of commercial activity, but unlike the first national SOE, the Government isn't forcing the closure of all private sector enterprises this time around. The only places where an almost complete shutdown is being enforced are those 4 communities of San Pedro, Santa Marta, Guinea Grass, and Shipyard.
But, there will still be some closures that will be required under the SOE, and the Attorney General gave the public the breakdown last night:
Face Mask Rules Still Apply
And once again, the government is doubling down on the rules about wearing face masks and practicing proper social distancing. Earlier this week, before this massive spike in the number of coronavirus cases, were confirmed, Police Commissioner Chester Williams made it clear that police were returning to strict enforcement. Last night, the Attorney General reiterated that point, and he said that there will be zero tolerance for law-breakers:
"For the rest of the country, you're not required to wear a face mask if you're at a private residence, if you're exercising if you're engaging in any sporting activity - so sporting activities are allowed outside of the lockdown areas - if you're swimming, if you're driving alone or driving with immediate family members, riding a motorcycle or a bike, the priest, pastor, member of the choir, or other person conducting a service or sermon of a church or other place of worship, or at a restaurant where dining in is allowed because if you're eating, you can't wear the mask."
US Issues Travel Advisory for Belize
It may be a case of the pot calling the kettle black, but the United States has issued a level 4 travel advisory for Belize. In other words, "do not travel".
It's a response to the spike in coronavirus cases this week, and the advisory says "Do not travel to Belize due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in Belize due to crimeTravelers to Belize may experience border closures, airport closures, travel prohibitions, stay at home orders, business closures, and other emergency conditions within Belize due to COVID-19."
August 6th Confirmed Cases Stand at 28; Total of 80 Active Cases Across the Country!
In coronavirus crisis—San Pedro and Santa Martha have community spread and the number of cases continues to grow. The confirmed COVID-19 cases have jumped to over one hundred since our [...]
M.O.H. Adjusts Testing Strategies; Belize City is of Concern!
And as the number of cases increase – the Ministry of Health says that contact tracing and testing strategies are evolving. Tonight, we can tell you that the ministry is [...]
Preliminary Report: 30 New COVID-19 Cases
There are thirty preliminary confirmed cases of COVID-19 tonight. These initial numbers come from one hundred and eighty samples processed today. These results are going for secondary confirmation and that [...]
If You Have Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19, Self-Isolate and Call 0800-MOH-CARE
And so if you are exhibiting symptoms or believe you were exposed to COVID-19, the Ministry of Health is advising you to call before you visit a health clinic. The [...]
Snaking Lines at San Pedro Medical Clinic
Residents of San Pedro are attempting to keep calm, but there is nervousness on the island which is the epicenter of the coronavirus in the country. Still hundreds more have [...]
Three San Pedro Residents Come Out as COVID-19 Positive
Three persons from San Pedro came forward and released on social media their COVID-19 positive status. They did so to inform persons who came in contact with them to be [...]
Attorney General Explains Measures in Lockdown Areas
The lockdown of the villages of Santa Martha, Shipyard, and Guinea Grass along with Ambergris Caye came into effect today. That is after the Ministry of Health confirmed positive COVID-19 [...]
S.O.E. Regulations for the Country as Explained by the Attorney General
While those three areas remain under strict quarantine, a State of Emergency has been announced for the rest of the country. As announced by Prime Minister Dean Barrow on Thursday, [...]
AG Serious About Locking Up Violators
According to Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte the fullest extent of the law will be brought down on any and everybody who flaunts the law. He says that law enforcement officers [...]
Senior Cops Now Suspended for Chaos at Port of Belize
Three senior police officers were placed on administrative leave following the chaos at the Port of Belize compound on July twenty-fourth. Eastern Division Commander and Assistant Commissioner of Police, Alden [...]
Several Persons Detained for Questioning in Murder of Shakeem Humes Sr.
On the night of August fifth, Shakeem Humes Senior was executed outside of his house in the Westlake area of the Eight Miles Community on the George Price Highway. The [...]
Confiscated Narco Planes for Sale
In June, the C.E.O. in National Security told News Five that government had sold four aircrafts for a million dollars. The money was most welcome given the financial crunch and [...]
The Attributing Factors to Decreasing Crime Stats
On Thursday, the Police Department, in its bi-annual COMSTAT meeting held in Belmopan reviewed the crime statistics for the first half of 2020. As we reported, major crimes decreased by [...]
Can Hotels Survive Another Lockdown?
COVID-19 cases continue on the rise which means that if more community transmission is confirmed, the possibility of a countrywide lockdown is likely. While it is a decision that the [...]
Where Are the Enhanced Packages for Frontline Workers?
Director of Health Services, Doctor Marvin Manzanero announced today that several frontline workers have been infected with COVID-19. Three police officers, two nurses and three doctors are confirmed to have [...]
Facility to Contain Border Jumpers Approved by Cabinet
As part of COVID-19 measures to contain the virus; C.E.O. George Lovell also spoke about a centralized quarantine facility. He says that this will assist in containing border jumpers. Lovell [...]
911 Enforcer to Keep Track of Tourists
While government is looking at have one facility for border jumpers for better control, it will also be relying on a devise to track tourists whenever they arrive. The nine-one-one [...]
Coast Guard Launches Operation Blue Lightening
The Belize Coast Guard today launched Operation Blue Lightning. The operation is geared at keeping Belize’s maritime border closed during this crucial battle against COVID-19. While the B.D.F. and police [...]
U.B.F.S.U. Says Still No Negotiations at U.B.
The University of Belize Faculty and Staff Union is reporting tonight that their attempt to negotiations with the Board of Trustees and President of the UB has stalled. The union [...]
Executing Unit for CABEI Loan Formed, Finally
Five years ago, in August 2015, the Government of Belize and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) signed a loan agreement for the Belize Integral Security Programme. The overall [...]
US Embassy Gives Half-a-Mil for COVID-19 Prevention and Awareness
The U.S. Embassy handed over half-a-million Belize dollars for the implementation of a COVID-19 awareness and prevention plan. UNICEF Belize is the local implementing partner and the work will target [...]