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- Belmopan. December 15, 2020. 12:00 p.m. - The Ministry of Human Development, Families and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, in partnership with the National Bank of Belize Limited, Digi, and Belize Social Investment Fund, is launching a cash-transfer program to provide support to vulnerable households affected by COVID-19.

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Shocking and tragic deaths due to COVID-19 in the medical community, government officials, has sent shockwaves of concerns across the country of Belize. Staggering numbers of new COVID-19 cases has placed Belize on the top list of active cases in the Caribbean and 39th in the world in deaths per capita. While some Belizeans are asking for another strict lockdown, island residents, at most, are concerned that a second lockdown will cripple the island economy, severely disrupt the tourism industry even further and send more residents in despair, destress and devastating hardships.

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Impact of COVID-19 on Belize Labor Force - According to statistics from the Government of Belize, the country lost 38,909 jobs due to the Corona Virus Pandemic. Statistics show that as of September 2020, that was the number of persons not working who lost their jobs due to COVID-19. The statistics released indicate that 33% of jobs lost due to COVID-19 were in the Tourism industry, 15% were lost in Wholesale and Retail Trade and Repairs; and 12% were lost in the Community, Social and Personal Service. Below are more statistics provided:

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BELMOPAN, Belize, CMC – Prime Minister John Briceño says he has made a full recovery from the coronavirus [COVID-19], even as other members of the ruling People’s United Party (PUP) were reported to have contracted the virus that has killed 148 and infected 5, 854. Briceño said that his last PCR test results were positive but doctors have declared him clinically recovered.

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Senior Dive Instructor at Ramon’s Village, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, Adolfo Ayuso has just recently completed Fragments of Hope’s Reef Replenishment course. This makes him qualified to establish new coral formations in Belize’s waters. Adolfo joined the program under his own initiative and is now our island’s coral gardener or reef builder, you might say.

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The Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) celebrated its 35th Annual General Meeting on Thursday, December 3, 2020, via Zoom. The AGM began with outgoing President Melanie Paz presenting the highlights of the targeted accomplishments for 2019/20 to members and guests.

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November marked the toughest month in Belize in the fight against COVID-19. During the month Belize experienced 2397 new cases and a staggering 89 deaths. A majority of these deaths are elderly citizens and those with underlying/preexisting conditions. A total of of 339 PCR tests were done yesterday, Monday, November 30, 2020, with 111 samples positive for SARS CoV2. There were 20 recovered cases and one death to report; this is a female in her 80’s from the Corozal District.

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Seven new COVID-19 cases were confirmed this week in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, as Belize starts showing a sharp increase in cases countrywide. There have been close to 100 new cases daily as reported by the Ministry of Health and the death toll has reached to 125 nationwide.

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The Airline of Belize is now offering guests more regional destination choices than ever before. Today, Tropic Air announces that it will add new international service to San Salvador, El Salvador (SAL) from the Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) in Belize City. Flights are initially planned for three times a week, and the start date is subject to government approval. Flight time will be approximately one hour on Tropic’s twin engine Beechcraft 1900D, a modern, 19 seat airliner designed primarily for regional routes such as this.

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BELIZE CITY, Belize, 23 November 2020 – UNICEF Belize has appointed 24-year-old youth activist Renata Samuels from Belize as a UNICEF National Youth Advocate. The appointment comes as UNICEF commemorates World Children’s Day on November 20, under the theme “Reimagining our future”. In her new role, Renata will support UNICEF's work in Belize to advance children's rights, promote young people's participation in the decision-making process and mobilize others to make younger voices heard.

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Immediately after the passage of Hurricane Eta through Central America during the first week of November, the Sagicor team in Belize mobilized to provide a level of immediate response to first responders and those who may have been forced to head quickly to shelters without time to gather themselves.

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There were two deaths reported in Belize, yesterday November 19, 2020. One was a male in his 80’s from Santa Cruz Orange Walk who had been feeling ill at home with cough and shortness of breath, he died at home. The second was a female in her 70’s from Duck Run.

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The Blue Economy encompasses all that is the sustainable growth of one of the world’s largest resources—the ocean. San Pedro and Caye Caulker are surrounded by the wealth that is our pristine waters. To think about the two islands as solely tourism-based is limiting our own potential.

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The Office of the Belize Film Commissioner (OBFC) and Galen University have signed a historic MOU to develop the first Film and Media School in Belize. According to the Film Commissioner, Nigel P. Miguel, “The film industry is perhaps the only creative industry that impacts virtually all others. Building this industry from the ground up requires the inclusion of critical stakeholders and our educational institutions, to ensure we work together to develop the capabilities of the creative segment of our society,  provide much needed jobs, and bring foreign investment to our shores.”

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Hon. Anthony Mahler was officially sworn in as Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations on Monday, November 16, 2020. He was appointed by the newly elected Prime Minister after the country’s general elections, which were held on Wednesday, November 11, 2020.

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Recently elected Area Representative of Belize Rural South, Mr. Andre Perez of the People’s United Party, has been appointed the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the NEW Ministry of Blue Economy. Members of his constituency were expecting his appointment as Minister of Tourism, but the Blue Economy Ministry as much ties with tourism, environment and economy. People are positive that the new ministry will be very beneficial to Mr. Perez’s constituency and the country of Belize. Blue Economy

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It is unfortunate that the Office of Director of Health Services recorded 10 deaths in Belize on Friday, November 13, 2020. The Corona Virus Pandemic keeps strengthening day by day as, on average, over a hundred cases are reported daily. Yesterday, 385 samples were processed with 119 cases positive for SARS-CoV2 confirmed; this is a positivity rate of 30.9% for that day.

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Despite of the COVID-19 Pandemic and recovery efforts after Hurricane ETA, Belizeans in impressive numbers voted in the country’s general elections, ousting the United Democratic Party and welcoming the People’s United Party. By 9:30 p.m., Wednesday, November 11, 2020, UDP Party Leader Patrick Faber conceded defeat and sent a congratulatory message to Johnny Briceño.

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Press Release, Oceana Belize, Belmopan, Belize - In a landmark step to protect livelihoods and strengthen marine conservation, the Government of Belize, on Thursday, November 5, 2020, passed the Statutory Instrument 158 of 2020 titled Fisheries Resources (Gill Net Prohibition) Regulations 2020, banning the possession and use of gillnets in Belize’s marine territorial seas, Exclusive Economic Zone and internal waters. This legislative step thus, renders all gillnet licenses invalid.

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The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) this week announced the release of the Belize Travel & Tourism Statistics Digest 2019, a digitally interactive publication produced by the BTB in an effort to provide the Tourism Industry with the latest reports on tourism trends. Tourism has developed into one of Belize’s main industries and has become the country’s number one foreign exchange earner.

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