The Belize District continues to lead the country by the number of newly-reported COVID-19 infections with Belize City consistently being the municipality reporting the highest number of cases. While cases skyrocket in the mainland, the tourism hotspots like Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and Placencia are reporting relatively low cases of infection.
There are currently, close to 60 active cases in San Pedro, 5 in Caye Caulker and 9 in Placencia. Why are these tourist hotspots with the highest concentration of international visitors showing lower cases of infection than the rest of the country? That could be attributed to the higher rate of vaccination in these popular tourist destinations in the country. Because jobs in these locations are more directly related to tourism, people in these municipalities are seeking vaccination to keep their health and jobs.
Belize is already reporting one of the highest rates of vaccination in the region, according to Dr. Marcelo Coyi, member of the COVID-19 Medical Task Force in Belize. More than 110,000 persons in the county have been fully vaccinated. Dr. Coyi says this is one of the highest numbers in the region.
“We have about 45% of our population with at least a first dose and of that 45%, I think 25% are fully vaccinated. When you compare it to the other Caribbean countries, actually we rank very high,” commented Dr. Coyi.
According to Dr. Coyi, Belize has enough vaccines for at least 77% of the population of the country. But even thought the vaccination rate of Belize looks good, the rate of infection is increasing, mostly among those not vaccinated. The country is close to reaching 2,000 active cases and the hospitals are at breaking point with overcrowded hospital beds, busy emergency rooms and limited ventilators.
Residents of Ambergris Caye are still uneasy at the rate that COVID-19 cases are increasing in the country but are seeking ways to get back to the normal way of living they were used to. Sticking a balance has been difficult, especially in a community completely dependent on the tourism dollar.