By Jem Smith
According to the latest report from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, there are now more than 200 active cases of COVID-19 in the country. For some months, it seemed that our national totals were on a downward trend but now; unfortunately for our health, freedom and safety, the cases are back on the rise. Medical officials had warned of an imminent wave of the disease and that might be right where we are. For consecutive days, active cases were reported in the double digits. For instance, the period June 26 to June 28 saw as many as 52 new cases reported and on June 29 there were 38 new cases reported.
Minister of Health Michel Chebat says that the Ministry is concerned, particularly as it relates to the northern and southern areas of the country. Those areas are starting to see a number of clusters, especially in the Orange Walk and Stann Creek districts. As a result, the Ministry reminds the public to adhere to current health regulations and public measures to slow the spread of the disease. He says that the last thing that the Government would want to do is to impose another national lockdown, which would again cause great economic disruptions. For now, the responsibility remains on the public to adhere to the rules set out by the Ministry and enforced by the Belize Police Department. The BPD has come out to say that it will be cracking down on social gatherings and social events to curb the spread of the virus. Commissioner of Police Chester Williams issued a press release warning the public that the Department would begin to be stricter with the execution of its duties to ensure that laws are being adhered to.
This might prove to be a more difficult task than the police might anticipate. That is because while the spread of the disease has mostly been prevalent in urban or suburban communities, it is now making its way through more rural areas. According to reports from the Ministry, there have been an eruption of cases just outside of Midway Village located in the Toledo district. Of the 52 cases of COVID-19 recorded over the weekend, almost half of them came from this area. There, as much as 10% of the population has tested positive for COVID-19 and the village’s six churches had to be closed down. Tracing for those 25 cases led the Ministry to discover that the index case was someone from around the village who works in Barranco. Having identified that does not quell all health concerns. There are now concerns for the bus which operates throughout Midway and into other villages. Ministry officials and workers will continue to monitor these and other cases.
By Jem Smith