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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
Large crowd gathers in front of Hon. Manuel Heredia’s residence seeking assistance
In an attempt to receive some assistance, a large crowd of people was observed outside the residence of Area Representative for Belize Rural South, Honourable Manuel Heredia Jr., on Friday, August 14th. Heredia told The San Pedro Sun that police came to disperse the crowd after they failed to adhere to social distancing as required. However, he expects to resume on Monday, August 17th, in a more orderly manner. In a video, a shirtless Heredia is observed on the veranda of his home looking at slips of papers before they are lower down with what appears to be a string. Meanwhile, a long line of persons economically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can be seen on the street waiting for assistance.
A Third Patient Succumbs To COVID-19 In Belize
The Ministry of Health of Belize confirmed this afternoon, Friday, August 14, 2020, one death associated to COVID-19, the third one for the country. The person has been identified at 52-year-old Luis Romero Senior who passed away at the KHMH’s ICU and his diagnosis had just been confirmed this afternoon. He was less than 12 hours in the ICU. Romero’s daughter expressed her father’s situation on a Facebook post. “He had symptoms during this week which progressed within one day. My brother begged M.O.H. to test him from last week Thursday. They said he had no links to anybody positive and a bad flu is going around and if he went to a clinic, they will give him meds and that’s it.”
COVID-19 Patient Delivers Baby In Belize, Both Doing Good
In a unique case, the Ministry reports that a COVID-19 positive female delivered a baby yesterday and both mom and baby are okay. Plus, there are six patients hospitalizes with one person having to be intubated.The COVID-19 updated came in late last night, Thursday, August 13, 2020, with no new reported cases for San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. This by no means indicates that there are no more cases on the island, rather, more samples have been taking for testing. A total of 172 samples have been processed with 60 positive cases. A lot of those cases have connections with San Pedro, especially in the Orange Walk district.
Various Belizean Sources
Flood Forecast | August 14, 2020
Covid-19 Frequently Asked Questions: Ministry of Health
Popular San Pedro DJ, Luis Romero organizes Food Bank Appeal for San Pedro
Popular San Pedro DJ Luis Romero makes a call out for food pantry assistance for the children and elderly of San Pedro. If you have a little, give a little.Please join DJ Romero in this initiative to help those mostly in need with their basic necessities.Please feel free to contact Luis Romero at 629-0454.Together we can certainly help those in need on the island. God Bless is all.
HIGHEST NUMBER OF COVID-19 CASES IN CARICOM STATES, INCLUDING BELIZEWe have more cases than Jamaica.
Belize Water Services Limiting Visitations
Belize Water Services places the utmost importance on the health and safety of our customers and staff Due to the further increase in cases of Covid-19, effective Monday, August 17 2020, our Customer Service Representatives countrywide will be available via our whatsapp and toll-free numbers or email provided below.
A further 172 samples were processed today with 32 new cases identified.The preliminary breakdown is as follows:- 1 case in Belize City- 10 cases in Corozal District (includes repatriated cases and cases in previously identified clusters)- 21 in Orange Walk District (related to previously identified clusters in Shipyard and construction site)We had one death - person diagnosed with SARS-CoV2.We have 3 recovered cases.We have 2 patients intubated and critically ill at the KHMH ICU.As we move through the weekend, we anticipate clearing up all the backlog of samples from the Central Medical Laboratory.Please continue exercising all the necessary precautions under new norms.
Ocean Ferry Temporary Schedule
Belize City to Caye Caulker and back.
Today the National Meteorological Service of Belize bids farewell to Forecaster Michael Gentle
He has served the country with 39 years of service. Today, we wish you all the best in your future endeavors. We will miss you, and we hope that you enjoy your retirement!
A YOUNG MAN WHO TESTS POSITIVE APOLOGIZES TO THE SARTENEJA COMMUNITY FOR MISLEADING HIS COVID-19 RESULTS
In his social media post Marvin Monterroso Jr. of Corozal Town wrote: Goodnight everyone, On my previous post I stated that I was confirmed negative for Covid-19. I want to apologize for misleading you all but please understand that I was also mislead when I received a text stating that my results were negative. I started with the symptoms the morning after the text and I started to question my results. Last night I saw the news about a fake text message going around confirming negative results and it made me question a lot of things since I haven't been feeling any better. Today I got a call from MOH saying that I tested POSITIVE for COVID-19. I hope this is a wakeup call for everyone.
Corozal Community Hospital Notice To The Public
The management of Corozal Community I lospital would like to inform the public that due to the increase in COVI1)-19 cases and a part of our response team. effective August l414. 2020 there will be some changes in the health services provided. These arc as follows:
BREAKDOWN OF COVID-19 CASES IN COROZAL AS PER MINISTER OF HEALTH
At today's House Sitting, Minister of Health Pablo Marin gave a complete breakdown of the country's demographic spread of COVID-19 cases. Here are the numbers as he explained for Corozal.
“Atithi Devo Bhava: Tourism Promotion India-Mexico-Belize”
In an effort to promote cross tourism between India, Mexico and Belize, the Belize Tourism Board has been invited by the Embassy of India in Mexico to conduct a country presentation on Monday, August 17th at 8:30 am, for the program “Atithi Devo Bhava: Tourism Promotion India-Mexico-Belize.”
Rumfish y Vino's Lionfish Crudo
Craving seafood this weekend? Try out this easy lionfish dish from Rumfish y Vino!
Creating September Celebrations Merchandise
Merchandisers, T-Shirt Producers and Print Studios: September is almost here. Your attention is called to this announcement.
Corozal House of Culture Closed August 17-28
Wishing everyone a great weekend and the remainder of August. We will be back in two weeks time! Stay safe.
Statistical Institute of Belize – Precautionary Measures to Slow the Transmission of COVID-19
The Statistical Institute of Belize (SIB) advises its clients, stakeholders, and the general public that effective Monday, August 17, 2020, its offices will not be open to the public. This is being done as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of our staff and valued clients. Nonetheless, the work of the SIB will carry on, with staff working from home until further notice. In keeping with social distancing requirements, data collection exercises such as the Labour Force Survey will be carried out primarily through telephone interviews. Face-to-face interviews are temporarily suspended until it is deemed safe to resume such activities.
Belize’s Third COVID Death is Luis Romero Sr.
Belize has registered 356 and counting cases of COVID 19 since March - and, tonight, the country has its third death.He is 52 year old Luis Romero Sr, reportedly from Corozal. He died at the the KHMH this afternoon from acute respiratory distress. In an angry post a short while ago on Facebook, his daughter said, quote, "My dad passed away just some hours ago, he had symptoms during this week which progressed within one day. My brother begged MOH to test him from last week Thursday, they said he had no links to anybody positive and a bad flu is going around and if he went to a clinic they will give him meds and that's it.
Multiple Patients Intubated
And while his family says he passed after 2:00 pm, today the Director of Health Services appeared on Ask The Experts and either didn't know, or pretended not to know of this significant event. Here's what the DHS said about the positive patients who are currently hospitalized.: "For now I can tell you we have hospitalized patients: one in Corozal Community Hospital; one at the northern regional hospital and one in the southern regional hospital - all of these persons have a confirmed Covic19 test. We also have 3 patients now at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in intensive care, 3 patients that are intubated, one of them has a confirmed positive result and that's the person that has been transferred from the western regional to Karl Heusner and we have 2 persons that are highly suspect for Covid19, but they don't have a result as yet..."
The COVID Infections Breakdown By Village, Towns, Cities, Districts
Today in the House of Representatives, The Minister of Health opened the session with a statement; he gave a breakdown of the number of cases in each district, municipality and village: "Belize District: we have a total of 172; Belize City - 42, Caye Caulker - 3, San Pedro Town - 127. Cayo District 12, Belmopan - 5, Benque Viejo Town - 2, Bullet Tree Falls - 1, Las Flores - 1, Santa Elena - 1, Succotz - 2. Corozal District 20, Alta Mira - 1, Buena Vista - 1, Calcutta - 1, Caledonia - 1, Concepcion - 2, Corozal Town - 5, Paraiso - 1, Patchakan - 1, Ranchito - 1, San Pedro - 1, San Roman -1..."
Breaking Down Last Night’s Samples
We note that those numbers did not seem to reflect the full, updated figures up to last night's test returns. So, we turn back now to Dr. Manzanero's comments from 90 minutes ago, in which he provided a brief breakdown of the 60 positive cases which were identified last night. Those cases come from a batch of 172 samples that were tested. By the Ministry's official count those 60 brings the country's total number of positive COVID cases to 356, and total number of active cases to 322. Dr. Marvin Manzanero - Director of Health Services"In the batch of samples processed yesterday and I'll go briefly through those, 60 positives out of a 172..."
There Will Be No Lockdown, But a Curfew
So now you've heard all the numbers and about that very sad and scary third death due to COVID 19. So what's next? Is Belize going back into lockdown? Today in the House of Representatives - the Prime Minister stressed that the situation is fluid but as of this morning, neither he nor the National Oversight Committee saw the need for a national lockdown - but he did announce a strict new curfew: "I and those whom we have consulted, including the members last night by telephone of the National Oversight Committee do not feel that it is anywhere close to being a situation where we must think in terms of locking down the entire country..."
Lockdown Threshold is A Moving Target
After the house meeting we asked the Prime Minister about that decision not to go into a full-scale, national lockdown. Government did so the last time in mid April when there were under 10 positive cases; we have seen close to 300 cases emerge in just the last 10 days!So what is the threshold for a lockdown. The PM conceded that there is no standard; and it's a judgement call, a very though one: "Well precisely because we saw how much we suffered economically and perhaps in terms of mental health, socially from the first lockdown we are not going to be in as much of a hurry as we were before to pull the trigger for a second lockdown..."
Was San Pedro Exodus A Driver Of Infections?
But, will the government be forced to eventually institute a lockdown when it is too late? Consider this; 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. 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?"
MOH: COVID Started To Circulate On San Pedro In Early July
And building on what the PM said, 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. 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..."
More Positive Cases Coming Out Tonight
And finally on the COVID numbers.we gave you a breakdown of what they are earlier, and today, the DHS and his team said they bracing for that total number of confirmed cases to increase by tomorrow. 300 tests are currently in the system, and his preliminary report from today indicates that another 10 people tested positive from a batch of 78 samples: "The preliminary data we have today, the first batch of samples have come out, it is 10 out of 78 samples, 10 positives that we have so far. There is another batch that is currently being processed..."
36 Fired Port Workers Take to The Picket Line
Tonight, 36 former members of PBL's staff are still out of a job. You'll remember that they were fired by text message 23 days ago - the same day that culminated in the GSU declaring a riot at the Port of Belize. Now, they're firing back, and speaking out against union busting and the actions of the port that they say have taken food out of their children's mouths. I spoke to them at their midday protest.
A Carnival Of Cayucos
Our next few stories are going to be about contraband, and the concerted state effort to put an end to this everyday practice that has - it seems - been forged into the DNA of nortenos.And yesterday evening, the police went after 23 Canoes or "Cayucos" as they are called in the north. These are the flat bottomed dories that cross the Rio Hondo from Santa Cruz to Botes for a dollar. When they were seized yesterday and paraded through the town for storage, it's like the north did a collective "Ah ve!". It was like a carnival, but of canoes and here's what it looked like:
New Law Will Limit Bail For Border Jumpers
And while the police were doing that in Orange Walk, the Barrow Administration was in the House of Representatives making an amendment to the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Amendment Bill to limit bail for border jumpers. Under the new law - which was passed by the House - border jumpers will now have to go to the Supreme Court for bail. The Prime Minister explained: "One of the measures we seek to legislate today to try and control and deter the continuing incidents of the border jumpers, people complain that once you catch them you put them in quarantine of course and after they've come out of quarantine they are taken to court and charged..."
New Customs Law Will Make Possessing Contraband A Jailable Offence
And it's not just the jumpers who are getting pinned by the law - those who consume and are caught with contraband will also be harshly penalized. The house also passed an amendment to the Customs Regulations - to make it so that when you're caught with contraband, you can't just get away with a fine, you'll have to go to jail. Here's the debate on that:Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister:"What we are doing is to treat those that enable the border the jumper that purchase the contraband items from the border jumpers to be treated as themselves having committed a crime to be treated in the same way as the actual border jumpers would be treated..."
Do New Measures Disproportionately Target The Poor?
But, in taking a stand now, is the government coming down too hard on one side of the socio-economic equation - while giving an ease to others?We asked the Prime Minister to put the border jumper sin the context of those who fly in on private jets, and those who - as happened an the Big Creek Port - sent their tug-boat to Honduras during a national lockdown. The Ministry of Health prceerts that there are 5 positive COVID cases in Independence related to a "tug boat that was engaged in movement of cargo at sea - link to Honduras."
Infected Doctor Caught About Town On Surveillance Camera
Today the Director of Health Services stressed that those who have gotten swabbed and are awaiting the result of a COVID 19 test should stay home under quarantine. But, tonight, the Guardian Newspaper has posted an image of a doctor - who has reportedly tested positive - and is still allegedly up and about.
"Caller, Noh Call No Name..."
And, of course, we cannot and would not disclose his name - which is also the strict policy of the Ministry of Health. The DHS today stressed that it will not be releasing the identities of the patients who tested positive for the virus.
Change In Labour Laws to Benefit Stevedores
And back to our earlier story at the Port of Belize. As you saw, Port Staff who had been terminated were protesting. And while they were out there, that government was in the House of Representatives changing the Labour Laws to benefit the stevedores who signed their collective bargaining agreement two weeks ago.One of the prominent features of the CBA was an agreement on the hours of work. This had been an issue of contention for years, because the stevedores work sometimes 30 hour shifts to clear a vessel.
Can MOE Really Get Rid Of Administrative Bloat?
Last night, we showed you a few choice parts of Education Minister Patrick Faber's late evening press conference. This was his direct response to the Opposition Party's manifesto launch of their Plan Belize. This policy proposal explains how they intend to address the country's education system if they are elected as the next government administration.From the Education Minister's perspective, several key elements of the PUP's proposals either have a flawed premise, are already implemented in the education sector, or they are flashy, but empty promises.
Most Teachers Already Got Trained
Another of the 11 proposals in the PUP's education reform plan is to provide all of the nearly 6,000 teachers countrywide with full pedagogical training. Well, from the Education Minister's perspective, that won't be hard to do because his Ministry has already provided 84% of the teachers with the necessary training. Here's how explained why this proposal isn't significant or ground-breaking:Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education:"One of the things that they are claiming that they will do is to increase the number of trained teachers to 100%. Now, the only reason they are able to make that promise is that under the UDP's administration for the last decade or so, there has been a marked increase of in excess of 50% - the recorded is there - of trained teachers..."
School Finance and The Question of Perverse Incentives
Faber also took the opportunity to respond to the PUP's criticism that his government's school finance reform initiative has neglected those students with academic weaknesses.At Wednesday's PUP launch, Francis Fonseca said that the Ministry of Education has been wasting money, focusing on the wrong objectives, and the wrong outcomes. He harshly criticized Government school finance reform, suggesting that it uses "perverse incentives structures" for school administrators, which lead to "perverse outcomes" where more school children are failing.Here's Faber's response to that perspective during his press conference yesterday:
When Will School Open?
Turning now to the Ministry's plan for the next school year, the press asked the Minister about the resumption of classes. Classes were scheduled to restart on Monday. But that opening date had to be delayed because of the current community spread of COVID-19, that we've been telling you about since last week. Here are the Minister's remarks:Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education"We said until further notice, and the reason we did that was we wanted time to see just far things would develop in terms of the COVID situation. At the point where we're at right now..."
September Celebrations, Ready?
Turning now to the September Celebration, the government today extended the two week State of Emergency which started on August 6th - and should have ended on the 20th of August - by another two weeks - taking it to September fourth. That's right into the start of the national celebration month. Annually, the carnival road march, the Battle of Saint George's Caye Day, and Independence Day are among the most festive times to be in Belize. But, this year, we'll all have to do our partying at home and online.
Third Person Dies of COVID-19 in Belize
We can confirm tonight that a third person has died because of COVID-19 in Belize. The Office of the Director of Health Services confirmed this information just before news time, [...]
10 New COVID-19 Cases
Turning to the latest number in the coronavirus pandemic….Ten new COVID-19 infections were confirmed late this evening from a batch of seventy-eight samples. The new cases drive the number of [...]
Is There a Link between the 60 New Cases and Other Previously Diagnosed Patients
And while those are ten new cases this afternoon, on Thursday night sixty more positive tests were confirmed. A majority of the cases are recorded in the Orange Walk, Corozal [...]
COVID-19 Numbers by Community
And while the cases have been concentrated largely in the north and the city, including San Pedro, these latest stats show that the virus is spreading across the country – [...]
16 Healthcare Workers are COVID-19 Positive
Among the positive COVID-19 cases are sixteen healthcare workers. The number, according to Doctor Marvin Manzanero, is a growing cause for concern. The results over the past twenty-four hours include [...]
Tug Boat Leaves and Re-enters Belize Illegally, Crew Members Test Positive for COVID-19
An investigation has been launched by Chief Executive Officer Doctor George Gough, of the Ministry of Health, into the departure of a tugboat from Belizean waters in Big Creek to [...]
Tonight several COVID-19 patients are hospitalized across the country. Three persons are in the I.C.U. at the K.H.M.H.; three of whom are intubated, but only one has a positive COVID-19 [...]
Curfew to be Set for 8 o’clock Once Again
Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte is scheduled to appear on a weekend episode of Ask the Experts on Saturday night where he is expected to provide details of a countrywide curfew [...]
Restaurants to Remain Open, but Only for Party of Ten
But we know that restaurants and other eateries will be allowed to remain open providing that patrons make reservations ahead of their visit, as well as sticking to ten persons [...]
No Locking Down of Orange Walk District
The steady increase in the number of cases of COVID-19 across the country, particularly in the north, as well as Belize District, has seen a climb to three hundred and [...]
Movement Within Orange Walk to be Restricted
There is no lockdown for all of the north, however, specific communities, including Guinea Grass, Shipyard and Santa Marta will see an extension to the confinement for safety that they [...]
The Blatant Disregard for Physical Distancing, Social Gathering Limit in San Pedro
Tourism Minister and area representative for Belize Rural South, Manuel Heredia Junior is coming under fire tonight. Videos and pictures of him and his family show them on their veranda [...]
Santa Cruz Village Chairlady Says that Police Unfairly Confiscated Canoes
The police has been active along border communities, attempting to put a lid on the movement of contraband goods. On Thursday, a dozen canoes were confiscated by Orange Walk Police [...]
Chairlady Says Santa Cruz Has Been Abandoned by Government
According to the chairlady, the residents of Santa Cruz have been abandoned by the government. She says that some families are only eating one meal per day. On the [...]
PM Barrow Comes Down Hard on Border Jumpers
In the House of Representatives today, Prime Minister Dean Barrow reiterated his condemnation for border jumpers. He says that the constant reports of border jumpers and contrabandistas prompted authorities to [...]
Opposition Raises Concern Over New Crime Control Amendment
The Crime Control and Criminal Justice Amendment Bill was tabled and read in its entirety during the sitting of the House of Representatives this morning as a measure to arrest [...]
Should There be a Distinction for Border Jumpers?
While harsh laws have been brought into force to thwart border jumping, the opposition is calling for a distinction between persons who are purchasing contraband items and persons who are [...]
Increasing Numbers Being Repatriated!
More than eighty repatriates returned home on the weekly repatriation flight on United Airlines. Doctor Marvin Manzanero says that there appears to be an increase in the number of persons [...]
What is Accounting for Low Death Rate in Belize?
At the top of the newscast, we told you about the latest COVID-19 related death recorded earlier this afternoon. This latest death marks Belize’s third COVID-19 death. During today’s Ask [...]
Did Asymptomatic Cases from the North cause the Outbreak on San Pedro?
Tonight, there are one hundred and twenty-seven cases of COVID-19 on the island of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. And going two weeks, the Ministry of Health has been mapping the [...]
OW COVID Patient Calls Out Discrimination in the Community
Another COVID-19 patient is sharing her status so that those who may have come in contact with her are aware. Twenty-five-year-old Gabriella Chable of Orange Walk Town says that when [...]
Did N.R.H. Healthcare Workers Refuse to Treat Patient Due to Fear of COVID?
And while Chable is facing discrimination from the public, she says that she is disappointed to learn about how a friend was treated at the Northern Regional Hospital. Her friend [...]
Was a COVID-19 Patient Out and About?
A photograph has been circulating on social media; it is allegedly that of a doctor, who earlier this week tested positive for COVID-19. Now, according to the allegation, the doctor [...]
Are Private Flights Sanctioned to Land in Belize?
According to PM Barrow in the House today, he is fine with private flights landing at the P.G.I.A. as long as all protocols are met. The arrival of an airplane [...]
Labour Act Amended
Back to the House of Representatives, the government introduced the Labour Amendment Bill 2020. The bill seeks to amend the Labour Act to provide for employers to reduce wages where [...]