Posted: Tuesday, June 29, 2021. 11:22 am CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Belize in March last year, all major events on the social calendar suffered, including the Carnival, jouvert, and the annual Christmas Parade. In 2021, the presence of the pandemic gave rise to virtual workarounds for major events such as the Agriculture and Trade show and the La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge; however, there’s no such workaround for Carnival, which might not be celebrated again this year, as COVID cases continue to rise.
The most recent national update on the COVID-19 situation produced by the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) showed that there were 53 newly-confirmed cases over the weekend, and just short of 200 active cases. There are also another 167 suspected cases under investigation. Minister of Health and wellness Michel Chebat, said this week that Carnival cannot be held under the current circumstances and that the hope is everything will be under control so restrictions may be relaxed by Christmas.
“Clearly if the numbers continue along the way, the trend that we are seeing carnival will not be possible this year, absolutely not,” Chebat said.
“Again, I am appealing to the people please adhere to the measures, let’s hold it down, let’s sacrifice a little bit more, Christmas is around the corner, we want things to free up – we want to have a normal Christmas, but if things continue along this trend, then we have to stop and look at what’s going to happen.”
While Chebat pleads with the public to sacrifice of their own free will, the Belize Police Department has begun stricter enforcement of the COVID-19 regulations, cracking down on contact sports, private gatherings, and bars to ensure that Belizeans are not spreading the virus due to non-compliance. Commissioner of Police Chester Williams announced last week that he sent out a reminder to officers to be stern with enforcement as the number of cases has begun to trend upward.
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