Arrangements to return mainland residents back home postponed
Saturday, April 4th, 2020
The evacuation of mainland residents off the island scheduled for today Saturday, April 4th, was postponed until further notice. The decision was reportedly taken by the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) in San Pedro Town, who reconsidered this action. According to a message from the EOC, they are asking those that had signed up to leave San Pedro today, to be patient as proper procedures must be finalized and put in place to ensure the safety of all. The new evacuation date will be announced as soon as all plans have been confirmed.
A large number of individuals from the mainland have been stranded on the island since March 23rd, when a State of Emergency was declared following the first COVID-19 (Coronavirus) case. People who came to San Pedro for the day along with others who have lost their jobs were planning to return to their mainland home but were unable to do so after all public transportation was suspended. Many of these people have been struggling to survive but have received help from community organizations assisting those less fortunate.
The San Pedro Town (SPTC) Council along with representatives of the Ministry of Health on the island and the police have been working on special arrangements to get people off the island. From Wednesday, April 1st to Friday, April 3rd, those stranded on the island were asked to visit the SPTC offices to provide their contact information and explain their case. Afterwards, they would be contacted and informed if they had been selected to be included in the group that would have left the island today. There was a screening process involving a medical check- up to ensure the individual was in good health and did not present any suspected symptoms.
In the meantime, Ambergris Caye, like the rest of the country, is under a curfew associated with the National State of Emergency that started at midnight on April 2, 2020. The curfew is from 8PM-5AM, no loitering allowed, and wandering and assembling at any public place will not be permitted. If police find anyone out and about without a justifiable reason, that person will be arrested and charged.
The only time persons will be allowed to move around will be during the day (5AM-8PM) to purchase essential needs (including medication) or if you are an essential worker. Essentials include security guards, agriculture or factory workers, the media, bakeries, tortilla factories, sanitation workers, public transportation, fuel stations, port operators, along with governmental institutions that may need to remain open.
The Belize Government re-emphasizes that Belizeans remain calm; fear is the most dangerous contagion. The most effective action each Belizean can take to secure the safety of themselves, their families, and the country is to follow the hygiene rules. Washing hands with soap and water, using a sanitizer if necessary, covering a cough or sneeze, trying not to touch the eyes, nose or mouth, and immediately dispose of tissues if used to cover a cough or sneeze.Remember to stay updated on official information concerning COVID-19. Visit the Government of Belize Press Office website at www.pressoffice.bz; or the Facebook pages for the Ministry of Health, the Director of Health Services, and the Government of Belize Press Office; or call the Ministry of Health’s hotline at 0-800-MOH-CARE.
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