In the wee hours of what would normally be one of the most somber days of the year in Belize, Good Friday, the Ministry of Health confirmed its 10th case of COVID-19 and subsequently reported hours later that Patient #10 has passed away. Along with a summary of events that led to the patient’s death, the Ministry assured the public that a mapping exercise, which includes immediate contacts and health care workers is presently ongoing.
In light of these events, and the possibility of widespread transmission of the virus, the Prime Minister addressed the nation this afternoon and advised that, after consultation with the National Oversight Committee, starting tomorrow, Saturday, April 11, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. the entire country of Belize will be placed under quarantine. This strict quarantine will last for an initial 14 days and may be extended as necessary as the situation progresses.
This new quarantine period will allow for only procuring of food, medicine, fuel and tending to finances. These essential services will operate during reduced working hours and all public transportation will cease (this includes taxi service). Masks and gloves must now be worn when venturing out to procure essential items while the various essential service providers must provide their staff with these personal protective items.
The mandatory quarantine period has also been extend from 14 to 21 days. This decision comes as a result of follow-up tests done on the first two patients which returned positive results, indicating they have not fully recovered, despite being asymptomatic.
The Prime Minister reminded the public that the unemployment relief program will also be fully functional next week with monies in hand for disbursement. Please be reminded that you can find out more about the program, access the application, or see if you qualify at https://portal.covid19.bz/individual/index.php.
We extend heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of both patients who lost their lives as a result of COVID-19 and send up prayers for our nation during this epidemic. We cannot express how appreciative we are for all our front line workers – doctors, nurses, police officers, soldiers, port personnel, grocery store employees, water suppliers, utility workers, delivery persons, bakers, government employees, media personnel, their families, and all others who risk their lives for the betterment of our beloved country during this very difficult time.
We encourage Belizeans to continue to practice social distancing, wear your masks and gloves when in public, cover your coughs and sneezes, stay home unless absolutely necessary, and wash your hands properly! May God bless our nation.