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Minister of Health says Belize is on right track with COVID but curfew will not be lifted

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Posted: Sunday, December 5, 2021. 4:12 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Mesopotamia area representative, Moses “Shyne” Barrow, on Friday asked the Minister of Health, Michel Chebat the question a lot of Belizeans are beginning to ask: Why is the curfew still in place?

The Minister replied that, “As of today, we have 578 reasons why we have this mild curfew in place. Mr Speaker, we cannot continue saying that our fatality rate is too high yet we want to do away with safety measures. When we took office, we were dealing with the alpha variant, at that time the targeted population was 70 percent when the Delta variant came along, herd immunity and that 70 percent went through the door. Let me remind the member for Mesopotamia that we are now faced with Omicron, a new variant, and we are taking the steps to protect the Belizean people. We now have vaccinators visiting homes, house to house, offering the vaccine to everybody who is willing to take the vaccine. So yes, Mr Speaker, 50 percent is a good number but it is not good enough to protect our people.”

As of Friday, national full-vaccination numbers were still around 45 percent, although the Government claims two-thirds of all adults are now vaccinated.

Chebat added, “The reality is, sir, that you all need to stop playing politics with the pandemic. Unlike your Minister of Health, this Ministry has been working. We have been addressing a variety of health issues.”

When Barrow asked directly, “What science are you relying on, Honourable Minister?” Chebat noted, “I think you forget, Sir, that the science that guides our decision has an input from one of your representatives on the COVID team,” but offered no further details.

The curfew is expected to last through the Christmas season and into the New Year.

Later, Chebat rose during the debate to expound further on the achievements of his Ministry in the fight against COVID during the debate on the supplementary appropriation.

In response to Leader of the Opposition Patrick Faber, Chebat stated that “under his watch,” the Ministry had put together a dedicated team reaching out to COVID-positive persons, providing them with food packages and can account for each one. He also claimed credit for expanding COVID testing; introduced remdesivir as a treatment for patients; expanded the list of purchases of medicines and saved $3 million; rolled out the COVID vaccination program; paid outstanding overtime for doctors and nurses, and given scholarships to 45 new ones, found needed equipment for hospitals, brought the Alpha variant under control, is controlling Delta and is preparing for Omicron if it gets here.

“Mister Speaker, this is not a beauty contest, and I don’t expect to be liked. But as long as I am here, I will continue to work for the healthcare system of this country, regardless of what the UDP and their cronies have to say,” he concluded.

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