Tuesday, April 7, 2020

4-7-2020 Covid-19 Update for Belize

There are currently 7 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Belize (out of 268 people tested), and one of those people died Sunday. Don't let the numbers fool you, though. There are likely many more cases in the country, but there is not widespread testing. In fact, the wife of the man who died posted about their situation (on Facebook here), and her husband was denied testing at two clinics in San Ignacio before he was finally tested in Belmopan, then later transferred (in critical condition) to the hospital in Belize City. They are doing social mapping of the infected, though, and those mapped are getting tested, so that is good.

Belize may not be testing a lot, but they are otherwise taking things seriously. The country is in a nationwide state of emergency. Schools are all closed. Restaurants and bars are closed, though a few restaurants are open for take out only. Most government offices are closed. Non essential businesses are closed. All events are cancelled. The rum distillery is now making hand sanitizer, although it's not available in our village yet. Borders are closed except for returning Belizeans. Airports are closed except for cargo. No gatherings are allowed, and people must stay at least 3 feet apart. A curfew is in effect - nobody is allowed outside between the hours of 8 pm and 5 am. During the day you are basically only allowed out to walk your dogs, get money, go to the grocery, or go to the pharmacy. They have suspended all mail service. They have postponed the need to get your monthly immigration stamp (people will have to back pay once immigration is open again). You are also only allowed out to exercise (walking, jogging or running) between 5 am and 8 am - no joy bike riding or swimming in the ocean allowed. (However, it is up for debate as to whether that was a typo and they meant 5 am to 8 pm - we'll see.)  So far over 300 people (5 in our village) have been arrested for breaking the curfew and/or social distancing rules, and that is punishable by 2 years in jail or a $5,000 BZD ($2,500 USD) fine! Needless to say, we are following the rules and staying home.

When Cara does go to the store she wears a homemade mask (4 layers of 2 different types of
fabric). The good kinds of masks (as well as hand sanitizer) are not available in the village.
She also uses Clorox wipes on everything she touches in the store, as well as to wipe everything
down that enters the house. Grocery shopping used to be a lot more fun - now it's an exhausting
pain in the butt!

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