Video: Ministry of Health Covid-19 Pandemic Situation And New RegulationsNew Regs Aim to Avert 250 Infections, 150 new Hospitalizations, 15 ICU admissions, 10 deaths
We told you about the new health regulations - and Dr Sabido explained how they will hopefully be able to avert 250 new infections, 150 new hospitalizations, 15 ICU admissions and 10 deaths. This will then ease the burden on the health system specifically on the national referral hospital. Dr Andre Sosa spoke about what the situation is currently like at the hospital.
Dr. Andre Sosa - Chairman, KHMH
"In the 16 days of September that have passed so far, we have already had 62 admission to KHMH. In all of August we had 61 admissions and August marked the greatest number of admissions since last year. So obviously, there is a problem. Our COVID ward was designed for 23 persons, for the last 2 weeks we've been at 30 persons more or less, so obviously we've had to make more space to accommodate those additional patients. There is more space that we can make use of, however that space is not unlimited and with more patients there is a greater need for staff and a greater need for equipment and other resources, again, those are not unlimited. On a happy note, today marks the first day that we have dipped below 20 cases admitted, we are at 19, sadly however, we have already experienced 2 more deaths today. The deaths continue to add up and each death is a tragedy for the families, for the country."
Since the rollout of the vaccinations, the COVID related admissions at the KHMH have been 134 unvaccinated, 31 with their first dose and only 12 with both doses.Does The Science Support Tourism Carve Out On Curfew?
Regarding the new regulations, one of the biggest issues Belizeans had was with the exception of the tourism hubs. Many locals felt as though tourists are being afforded privileges that they aren't - and saw the move as unfair and in the interest of money rather than health. Today, we asked the head table whether this decision was backed up by the medical science.
Dr. Deysi Mendez - CEO, MOHW
"I think you can see that the economic recovery hasn't been focused only on the economy but also looking at the health factors and the decision, we have to look into the social benefit and good for the people that we serve and so far the response in managing the pandemic with the tourism is positive and it's working, hence we cannot have the scenario is not similar country wide. The implication of the new regulation is where much attention and much control is needed so that we can preserve lives and we can better respond to the pandemic."
"Was it the task force that recommended that these tourists be exempted from the new regulation because wouldn't that be counter productive because then what might happen, these areas might become covid hot spots because Belizeas who are running away from regulations might run to these areas taking the virus with them."
Dr. Julio Sabido - Representative, MOHW
"So the answer is no, it was not the medical response team that made those recommendations."
Dr Marcelo Coyi, who was also at the head table, noted that tourists in these areas have already tested negative before arrival in Belize and so they are less likely to spread the virus.Channel 7
=================MOHW Comments on Exceptions for Tourist Zones
Many are asking whether the decision to make exceptions for the Placencia, Caye Cualker, San Pedro and Hopkins in the latest COVID regulations is backed by science or purely economic. Here is the response we were given to that question.
Deysi Mendez, C.E.O., Ministry of Health & Wellness
“I think we can say that, the economic recovery hasn’t been focused only on the economy but also been looking at the health factors, and the decision to those. We have to be looking at the social benefit and good of the people we serve. And, so far the response in managing the pandemic with tourism has been positive and it works, it has been working. Hence we can say, the scenario is not similar country wide. The implications of the new regulation are where much attention and much control is need so that we can preserve lives and get a response to the pandemic.”
Dr. Julio Sabido, Medical Officer, Ministry of Health & Wellness
“I just add that as a physician I understand that we have to balance the economy and that. Bear in mind that all these nurses, and physicians, and other quandary of health care workers that the office of the Prime Minister have given support to, higher, comes at a cost. So, the money has to come from somewhere.”
Dr. Marcelo Coyi, Belize Medical Associates
“Whenever there is movement, as I said in my presentation, there is risk, increases of transmission indeed. And, if you are going to say that you will extend it to certain areas, obviously that is a risk factor towards increased transmission. Nobody ah lie to yo and nuh tell yo that. But, the people who are coming to the country who are tourist all have a negative test, whether it is rapid or PCR, they do have a negative test towards infections. It means that the risks are decreased, because the people who are mingling in these tourist areas are people who are bringing a negative test.”Restaurateurs Blindsided by New Restrictions
Reaction to the Prime Minister’s announcement was swift as business owners and residents flocked to social media with mixed reviews on the new COVID-19 restrictions that take effect in the next few days. While the general sentiment is that something had to be done to reduce the number of active cases, restaurateurs are concerned about the survival of their businesses that are already at the brink of shuttering. Just two weeks ago, a group of businessmen, including a disc jockey representing the entertainment industry, signed off on a petition asking for G.O.B. to provide some relief for their business to recover. Instead of getting some ease, they got another clampdown. Linford Rosado of the Thirsty Thursday says that they have been blindsided.
Linford Rosado, Owner, Thirsty Thursday
“What I find difficult to grasp is where are we going with this latest restriction. Restaurants can only do takeout, but resorts, hotels in the islands, Placencia, Hopkins can go full blast. So are we being sacrificed for their success? I mean we wrote the letter the other day explaining our hardships. I was on your newscast along with my colleagues, Mister Gillett from Rustic, my son and DJ Dalla, begging/crying for some kind of relief and instead – if I put it by the local terms – maybe we get bukut. But yes Duane, I know that the situation is desperate, I know that the medical professionals are extremely overworked, underpaid and I feel for them, but I wish that the powers that be would really sit down and bring credible solutions. More curfews, more lockdowns in one sector has not done it in the past – it has led to where we are.”Restaurateurs Have More Questions than Answers
Already at the verge of closing his doors, Rosado asks what happens come October fourth when the current restrictions are to expire. Will that be sufficient time to reduce the number of active cases? With restaurants only able to do takeout, Rosado worries that he and his colleagues will have to downsize their staff yet again even as bills continue to grow.
Linford Rosado, Owner, Thirsty Thursday
“How do I plan past these two weeks? I have already laid off fifty percent of my employees, I am already in debt up to here with utilities and other bills that we simply can’t meet because every time we think that we can and we make commitments to the utility companies and to creditors, we get another round of restrictions. Where do we go on the fourth? Can the government at least give us a hint? Do I have to cut another fifty percent? Do I just stay here and just di cook and serve the people at the gate? I mean what is going on? Sundays is what? I still did not get the sense of what Sunday is. Is it complete lockdown? Can restaurants open because we sell food and I think the prime minister said you can go out on Sunday and get food? So where are we? What exactly is going on? And that’s how we feel; that’s how all of us feel. I have spoken to a lot of my colleagues since last night; I had a meeting with my staff. They are confused out of their minds. I mean it is unbelievable; it is unbelievable that we will come to this, almost lockdown of restaurants, in particular, again.”Channel 5