And while the prison is COVID-free, the country is a long way from that reality. Election Day is believed to have been a super spreader event with confirmed COVID cases at more than eight thousand.  An additional sixty cases were confirmed today along with three new deaths.  The total COVID-19 death toll now stands at one hundred and seventy-nine.  Four persons remain in the Intensive Care Unit. Prime Minister John Briceño says one of the key strategies to control the spread is increased testing.  PM Briceño says that PCR tests are now being offered to the entire public at the different clinics countrywide.

Prime Minister John Briceño

“Obviously any event that you have could have the spread of the virus. I mean, you could have a party at your home and then you hear everybody in the home got sick and even other friends that would come. So any event that we have, that brings me to the point to say that even Christmas now we have to be careful not to have parties for this Christmas. I usually invite my entire family for Christmas and my extended family and already my wife is saying no, it’s just us. We can’t invite anybody. So, the answer is quite likely the election as much as we tried our best to be careful. I think during the day I think we did a pretty good job, everybody wore their mask and everybody was cleaning their hands. We tried not to be out there in large numbers on the polling stations but in the night with the euphoria of the victory people just even though it could have been much bigger if we did not have the restrictions. People still came out and they were embracing one another and they are drinking, so I’m sure that some of that has contributed. But the truth of the matter is that this is something that has been coming in the past months. I don’t think we were as aggressive enough earlier to try to hold down the curb.  The election was just another factor of it but with or without elections we would have been having larger numbers. But also let us point out now that we are aggressively testing. We are going to have more numbers because we are out there aggressively testing trying to get a grasp of what is happening right now with this country with COVID-19.”

Reporter

“…that testing is only restricted to people with symptoms though?”

Prime Minister John Briceño

“No. I think what we are doing now is that we are opening it up to anybody that feels that they may have it they just get in line and they go. For instance in Orange Walk in the People’s Stadium, in two days I think over three hundred people were tested. They just fixed one of the machines, the Minister just told me this morning that will be able to do I think about three hundred and ninety PCR test at a time as oppose to ninety. We are doing a number of things but the important thing is that we have to be aggressive with the testing.”

Channel 5