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Police dealing with reduced ranks, recalcitrant residents in COVID-19 enforcement

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Posted: Monday, November 30, 2020. 8:35 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The rapid increases in cases of COVID-19 and even deaths are not hampering Belizeans from living their lives – and exposing themselves to the virus.

On the first weekend of the returning curfew, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams said, there were already 60 arrests for breaches of curfew and quarantine regulations. While the initial press release and statements from the Ministry of Health and Wellness had set the time at 9 p.m., the law as signed by the Minister states it is 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and that is what is enforced.

In addition, “We are still seeing people having parties here, there, and everywhere; we are still seeing places that want to open despite that they should be closed; we are still seeing people gathering in large numbers; we are still seeing people walking around without a mask or without their mask properly worn; these are things that need to stop.”

The regulations, the Commissioner reminded, are for all our protection, and if we want the virus stopped then we must follow the listed protocol.

As for enforcement, the Department’s ranks are thinned significantly – more than 300 officers are now off work due to COVID-19 and the new Ministry of Home Affairs is working to find ways to replenish that.

This past Saturday, 74 officers in the Eastern Division were tested using rapid tests. 12 returned positive tests and the others were told to take PCR tests to ensure they were not given false negatives. The testing will be rolled out at the various health centers countrywide as a matter or priority.

 

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