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COVID comeback? Health Minister preaches caution

Posted: Thursday, December 8, 2022. 9:35 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: In the period November 29 to December 5, 69 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded, prompting fears of a new wave affecting the country.

According to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, no new hospitalizations or deaths have been reported and the cumulative rate of infection is 11 percent.

As with previous cases, the majority could be found in the central districts of Belize and Cayo, with fewer in the north and south.

Minister Kevin Bernard said earlier this week that there is no need to panic: “We continuously want to encourage people that if you feel ill come and get tested because that is the only way we will really get to know where we stand. The numbers had dropped all the way down to, I think, 16 at one point and now we have that increase last [week],” he said Wednesday.

He added that Christmas time will see much activity but while there is so far nothing to indicate a major wave coming as happened around this time last year, the disease has not gone away: “As you know there are a lot of activities now and there’s a lot of people moving close together, having major functions and that could be why there has been an increase. I have not gotten any indication from the surveillance team that they suspect a major wave or a huge spike, but we must understand that we live in a system where COVID is around us and it exists.”

Variants in the country are milder than their predecessors in terms of illness, but do not be tempted to ignore the symptoms – go and get tested and follow the standard procedure – avoid crowded and non-ventilated spaces, wear masks if necessary and keep a social distance where possible.

Asked about the return of a mask mandate in public, Bernard said, “I’m not sure that masks will be something that we will quickly jump on and say you need to use masks but if you want to use masks wear your mask. I wear my mask. I do so to protect myself, to protect my child, to protect my wife, and my family so it is upon us as individuals to know that if you feel ill, wear a mask. I’m not saying that that is going to be something that we put mandatory to the Belizean people.”

Belize has recorded 688 COVID-19 deaths and 69,117 infections since the first case was recorded in 2020.

 

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