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Medical and Dental Association’s advice: don’t open borders

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Posted: Monday, May 31, 2021. 8:59 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Belize Medical and Dental Association is calling for the postponement of the re-opening land borders tomorrow, Monday, some fourteen months after they were closed. It warns that unless its various requests are honoured, Belize risks a resurgence in cases that it cannot afford.

In a statement, it was pointed out that Belize’s immediate neighbours – Melchor de Mencos, Peten, Guatemala, and Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico – face an upsurge in cases and are in so-called ‘red zones’ where there are at least 100 cases per hundred thousand inhabitants. This represents an immediate threat.

About a quarter of the national population has at least one vaccination; fewer have both. The BMDA is calling for the mandatory vaccination by legislation of frontline workers and those having great contact with people on a daily basis.

In the health arena, the BMDA points to medications approved to fight COVID-19 not being in country; centralization of testing at the Central Medical Laboratory in Belize City continuing to delay PCR test results; an uprising among health care workers including doctors whose contracts have not been renewed and a freeze on overtime.

Add to this a population that has become somewhat lackadaisal with regulations, and the stage is set for things to get worse, economic recovery notwithstanding, the BMDA warned.

Belize’s active case count is at 78 with consistently low numbers of hospitalized patients and patients in intensive care. However, with a death at the end of last week, a streak of almost a month without a COVID-19 death was broken.

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