The Office of the Prime Minister hereby informs that the Prime Minister Hon. John Briceño was swabbed for COVID-19 and has tested positive.
Prime Minister Briceño will remain in isolation for the next two weeks, after which he will be re-tested.
The public is encouraged to continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, and continue to follow all guidelines of the Ministry of Health.
=================PM Briceno & Cab. Sec. Positive For COVID 19 - Concerns About Wider Cabinet
Only 11 days in office, Belize's new Prime Minister has tested positive for COVID 19.
A terse press release says that Prime Minister BriceÃ±o will remain in isolation for the next two weeks, after which he will be re-tested. We are told that Briceno is not presently showing symptoms.
More consequentially, reliable reports say that at least two ministers of state have tested positive, while other ministers are awaiting results. Cabinet Secretary Stuart Leslie, who is the closest advisor to Briceno has also tested positive. He reportedly has minor symptoms and is in self isolation.
You may recall also that Minister of state Mike Espat tested positive for COVID right after the elections - and is now said to be recovering.
But, the infection circle can be very wide; as we have witnessed in the wake of the PUP's landslide victory last week - there has been a lot of hugging and handshakes in congratulation. Briceno himself has also been busy - photos sent out last week Friday show him visiting flood areas - where social distance was not practiced.
This week going to be a critical time for his administration - almost two weeks in office - no CEO's named and no press conference held - and the public expecting answers. Those CEO's were expected to be named tomorrow after a Cabinet meeting. We do not know if that will now be held virtually.
And while the nation's first hope is for the 60 year old Briceno to emerge unscathed - and even the leader of the opposition sent him a wish on Facebook saying that - assuming a problem free recovery - it is left to be seen if the experience and the wider footprint of infection in his Cabinet - will shape his public policy approach towards COVID. Before the election - when challenged on his positive that COVID positive persons should go vote - he said we have to learn to live with it:
Posted (November 10, 2020)
"But don't you feel that perhaps contradicting all these measures is opening a flood gate that we really cannot afford right now?"
John Briceno, PUP Leader"First of all what we are doing is not working, because right now Covid19 is completely out of control. The government has been unable to put some control into it, but you can't stay at home. I was the first one to say it at the NOC. We have to learn to live with Covid. So don't tell me that I am contradicting. I'm giving you a plan as to how we are going to deal with Covid effectively and efficiently and at the same time for us to be able to work, or lese we are going to starve."
We'll keep following PM Briceno's progress very closely.Channel 7
=================PM Briceño and his Chief of Staff Test Positive for COVID-19
The coronavirus has reached the top levels of government. The Office of the Prime Minister has confirmed that PM John Briceño has tested positive for COVID-19. Briceño was swabbed today in Belize City and the results came back positive; he is asymptomatic. Since taking office, the PM has been moving around establishing his government and in the past few days, he visited flooded areas in the northern parts of the country. The PM will be spending two weeks in isolation and since work continues, Tuesday’s cabinet meeting will be held virtually.
His Chief of Staff and Cabinet Secretary, Stuart Leslie, has also tested positive and is showing minor symptoms. Tests results have come back negative for Briceño’s family. Since the November eleventh elections, Jorge “Melin” Espat from Cayo West and Mike Espat from Toledo East, have also tested positive. Those persons, including cabinet ministers, who have been in close contact with the PM, will also be swabbed.Channel 5