BELIZE CITY, Mon. Aug. 3, 2020– As of Friday, July 31, the Office of the Director of Health Services had reported a total of 48 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Belize, with 19 of them being active. The following day, it was reported that three of those patients (all of whom were from the Orange Walk District, which has had the most active cases in the past three weeks) had recovered.
In a matter of hours, however, Belize recorded its highest number of additional COVID-19 cases in any single day, as eight cases were detected in a subsequent batch of tests, which brought the total number of confirmed cases in Belize to 56, with 24 of those cases being active.
Of the eight new cases, three were located in the Central Health Region, two of which were brought into the country through the repatriation flights from the US, and one of which was brought into the country on a repatriation flight from Honduras. The three infected persons who entered the country via the repatriation program were classified as asymptomatic and were placed in hotel quarantine.
The remaining five were all discovered in the Northern Health Region. Three of those persons were discovered in Corozal Town, and two of them were repatriated through the Mexican border and are also classified as asymptomatic and have been put in hotel quarantine.
The third person from Corozal, however, reportedly has no recent travel history and asserts that they have had no known contact with anyone suffering from COVID-19. This person suffers respiratory symptoms and had to be hospitalized. It has been reported that the COVID-19 patient who is hospitalized is a police officer, which has raised concerns that perhaps some officers who are interacting with border jumpers in the northern districts might not be adequately putting to use the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE).
The remaining two cases were discovered in Orange Walk. One of the two infected persons crossed the border illegally and is classified as asymptomatic and has been put in a quarantine facility. The other person is another infected individual who claims to have had no recent travel history or contact with anyone infected with the virus. That person also is having respiratory problems and required hospitalization.
Reportedly, the Orange Walk Town Council has temporarily closed a market at the Fort Cairns Plaza to disinfect the stalls, since one of the infected persons reportedly is involved in the operation of a stall at the market. The town council also intends to enforce more stringent measures at the market to ensure there is no exposure to, or transmission, of the virus.
On Sunday, another active case was detected in San Pedro, bringing Belize’s total number of confirmed cases to 57. The person apparently is suffering from respiratory symptoms and a fever, and has no known travel history or contact with anyone infected with COVID-19.
This is the third infected person discovered in a matter of days, who claims to have no idea where they contracted the virus and raises the alarm of potential community spread. While it has been reported that the infected person from Orange Walk who claimed to have no recent travel history has been shown to have been possibly exposed to the virus through that person’s involvement in the contraband trade, there has not yet been any identification of the mode by which the other two persons contracted the virus.
Presently, Belize is battling 25 active cases of COVID-19. On Monday, August 3, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams issued a statement announcing that the police will be enforcing stricter measures to ensure proper wearing of masks and proper social distancing.
The Commissioner says the officers will be paying keen attention to both outdoor and indoor gatherings, including bars and nightclubs, and these events will be shut down if there is not full compliance with the safety measures.