Thursday, April 18, 2024

National lockdown is not on the government’s agenda


With the alarming spike of countrywide cases of COVID-19, some Belizeans are asking for a national lockdown to contain the surge in infections. Although the idea of lockdowns has never sat well with Prime Minister Honourable John Briceño, on Monday, December 15th, he shared that the precaution has not been ruled out.
Currently, Belize has the most active cases in the Caribbean, with over 4,700 infected persons. Belize is now considered the 39th country globally with the highest rate when comparing the number of cases per capita. Despite this rapid spike, Prime Minister Briceño is not convinced a national lockdown is an answer to suppress the virus. “We have to make sure that we can flatten that curve as quickly as possible. I think our Belizeans finally understand how deadly COVID-19 is,” said Briceño. “I appeal to Belizeans; please be careful. We are coming to Christmas and New Year’s. This is one time I am asking Belizeans to stay home within your bubble and celebrate within your bubble. Don’t go out and have parties; please be safe and stay safe.” The death toll due to COVID-19 is over 200 and has taken Belizeans from all walks of life, including frontline workers and a newly elected Member of Parliament.
According to Briceño, mass testing can help identify those infected and avoid others from getting sick. The Prime Minister also appeals to the sick to stay home and the government, if necessary, the government will provide them with groceries and even a small stipend. Although financing is scarce, the government will make every possible effort to encourage people to stay home.
Commissioner of Police (ComPol) Chester Williams was asked about the idea of a lockdown or stricter curfew. He did not comment on the topic of lockdown, saying it is a matter for the government to decide. “The government is going to decide that based on the public’s response to the regulations,” he said. ComPol Williams said that a stricter curfew would be welcomed, but it is a decision that falls on the government.

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