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How COVID-19 is shaping the new “normal”

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Posted: Tuesday, May 5, 2020. 8:52 am CST.

By BBN Staff: Yesterday and today, Belizeans trying to conduct business at the Holy Redeemer Credit Union needed to get into a line that at one point extended down Hydes Lane, up on to North Front Steet and then curved onto Queen Street; another product of the social distancing measures implemented to prevent COVID-19. The immense imposition on daily routines has people the world over hoping for a sense of normalcy to return, but authorities believe that Belize and the rest of the world will not return to the way it was before COVID-19 any time soon.

Our newsroom spoke today with Director of Health Services in the Ministry of Health (MOH) Dr. Marvin Manzanero, who explained that norms will be changing as the world learns more about the virus and new means to fight it become available, which could take years.

“The new norm is now: physical distancing, handwashing, staying home unless it is necessary,” Manzanero said.

He stressed that people need to be prepared for the new norms that will surface post-pandemic and that the anticipation is that a working vaccine will be available in two years’ time. His view is shared by many the world over, including scientists at Harvard University, who recently published research saying that social distancing measures may have to continue up to 2022 because the world does not know enough about COVID-19 and its patterns to completely remove these measures.

In a recently-published article by BAI Banking Strategies, BAI’s President and CEO Debbie Bianucci, said that fully reopening the banking industry will have to be a phased and controlled process, taking into account how COVID-19 has changed the world.

“Yes, there are things that we all miss when we reminisce about the pre-pandemic work environment, but there’s no question that there’s no totally going back to that world,” Bianucci said.

But what happens while the world waits? According to WorldOMeter, as of today, May 4, 2020, over 3 million people have been infected with COVID-19 and over 250,000 have lost their lives worldwide. Meanwhile, the International Labour Organization (ILO) reports that more than four out of five people (81 percent) in the global workforce of 3.3 billion are currently affected by full or partial workplace closures.

Belize is not exempt from these losses, with many, particularly in the tourism industry, feeling the economic backlash from COVID-19 as the borders  closed rendering them unable to earn a living. The virus has also caused cultural shifts in country, which become even more pronounced on Sunday  mornings as the usual congregations in churches and congregations outside  of Chinese stores to buy Boledo are all expected to stay home as neither are currently being allowed to operate.

 

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