COVID-19 Curfew extended for another month

Saturday, January 15th, 2022


The current Statutory Instrument (SI) is due to expire on Saturday, January 15th. Although the recent number of COVID-19 infections is on a significant rise, Belizeans should not expect considerable changes. The curfew is one feature in the regulations that will continue for at least another month. The curfew remains at 11PM from Sundays to Thursdays and 12-midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

The new Minister of Health and Wellness, Honourable Kevin Bernard, confirmed the extension on Friday, January 14th. Bernard said that it is critical to maintain the curfew as per the medical experts. The Minister said there would be a meeting on Monday, January 17th, with the medical team for further guidance regarding the pandemic.

The current curfew introduced in SI No. 151 of 2021 (https://www.pressoffice.gov.bz/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/SI-No-151-of-2021-Public-Health.pdf) in early December 2021, was welcomed in San Pedro Town by tourism stakeholders. This adjustment was to help the tourism season in Belize. However, COVID-19 is rising, with the Omicron variant to blame for more than 7,000 active cases countrywide, with Belize City, San Pedro, and Dangriga has been reporting the highest infection rates.

Other government officials such as the Minister of the Public Service, Constitutional, Political Reform and Religious Affairs, the Honourable Henry Charles Usher, said the medical task force made several recommendations. These were not in terms of a lockdown or anything of that nature. “We know the Omicron came here probably through the airport or some other port, and so they are recommending that the testing period for the virus is less,” said Usher. He explained that in terms of the PCR test, instead of doing the test 96 hours before traveling to Belize, it should be 48 hours. Usher added that the recommendation is within 24 hours for the rapid test before traveling to Belize. “We hope we can see a burnout of this virus,” said Usher. He hopes this wave of infection soon disappears. Usher encouraged Belizeans to continue adhering to the established health protocols, proper hand hygiene, social distancing, mask-wearing in public places, and be vaccinated.

The Omicron variant was discovered in South Africa, and although it is considered a mild strain of COVID-19, it spreads faster than the previous versions of the virus. The government is monitoring the situation in Africa and Europe, where they have already reached their peak in infections. They hope that once Belize reaches its peak, the number of positive cases will start to decline.


 

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