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Prime Minister wants to “encourage, coerce” Belizeans to vaccinate after wedding

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Posted: Thursday, August 26, 2021. 3:35 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Prime Minister John Briceño has cautiously endorsed Minister of Health Michel Chebat’s decision to allow a wedding reception for approximately 100 guests on Wednesday in Belize City.

Speaking to KREM News this morning, the P.M. opined that the event, where guests were not only mandated to be at least partially vaccinated but also masked, socially distant and constantly sanitized, is a “big start” in encouraging Belizeans to get vaccinated in order to bring down cases and allow the return of larger social gatherings. He had previously deplored the congregation of persons at wakes and repasts, now specifically banned by the latest statutory instrument, and public drinking and surreptitious alcohol sales as the scourge propelling cases, especially in Belize City.

While Briceño repeated that the Government was “not there yet” in term of mandating vaccines for the entire population, and that this is more of an exception than the rule, it is part of Government’s strategy to encourage Belizeans to take the jab, and in the case of frontline workers to coerce them by means of their work. But no one is being forced at all to take the vaccine, and it may well come down, he suggested, to unvaccinated persons effectively limiting their movement to ensure they don’t get others sick.

There has been social media outrage and accusations of a double standard for supposedly more well off individuals as compared to poor families who can’t even mourn their dead at a church, only in limited numbers at the graveyard. Indeed, businesses have begun to offer discounts and other services to vaccinated persons and asking for the vaccination card for such purposes.

More than 150 thousand Belizeans have had their first doses and more than 60 thousand are fully vaccinated.

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