The Ministry's "Epi" unit has had an opportunity to study the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. And at this time, the health experts think that the outbreak started to take root shortly after the national State of Emergency was lifted at the end of June - and everybody, local travellers and construction workers started opting to the island.

The Director explained why this evening:

Dr. Marvin Manzanero - Director of Health Services

June 30th was Tuesday so that was when the SOE was lifted and more free movement was ongoing after July 1st. When we follow the timeline as to how cases started to develop on the island and when it actually erupted around particular activities the 3rd week of July. The theory we have right now at the epidemiology unit is that from that first weekend in San Pedro is when we would have had asymptomatic people move from more than likely the northern districts to San Pedro and the following weekend we noted that there was significant amount of people moving to the island as well on vacation and lots of... actually we went back lots of activities being promoted on the island for Belizeans, for locals with rates and hotels being, having a higher number of people staying there so we felt that that is the timeline we have drawn, it would have been from the first weekend from the 3rd of July that weekend and then on the 10th of July would have been the weekends that there would have been an unusual amount of people who may have been one or two asymptomatic carriers and then people would have started developing signs and symptoms on the island around the 15th , 16th of July with an explosion in terms of bigger numbers during the 3rd week of July so we are finding that two weeks three weeks later translating into the number of cases that we have so when we draw that timeline in terms of incubation periods of the virus that is pretty much where we think it came through, it would have been starting from the first weekend in July and that is right after the SOE was lifted.

Was San Pedro Exodus A Driver Of Infections?

In March when the first case appeared on san Pedro; there was an immediate lockdown; this time around, when case 57 was confirmed there on August second, there was no lockdown for days - giving infected persons ample time to leave the island, go back to their communities, and unwittingly infect others.

PM said that argument is false:

Jules Vasquez:
"Are we facing a situation where we may be, by the time a decision is made, it may be too late as has been hinted at may have happened with San Pedro because if it had been locked down immediately like last time at the instance of one case all those construction workers who have now gone on to infect other areas may not have left?"

Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Oh no, I think that is a fallacy, from the time the first case reared its head in San Pedro and I was told this by somebody who is involved in the ownership of the, one of the partners in the construction enterprise, people high tailed it out of San Pedro precisely because they were not going to be caught in the situation that happened the first time. Remember too that when we decide to do a lockdown there has to be some drafting done and so you certainly going to lose a day or so from the time you make the decision to the time you actually get the statutory instrument promulgated so no there was no way… we could have moved a little earlier but that would not have stopped the mass exodus you started to hear about that index case in San Pedro the Sunday, the owners of the construction site told me that by Monday morning the vast majority had taken off."

Channel 7