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Oct 8, 2020

61 Police Officers are COVID-positive

There is worrying news tonight that frontline workers, including members of law enforcement, are persons who are among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.  The Belize Police Department is reeling from the number of cases within its ranks since COVID-19 began its spread across the country earlier this year.  These men and women, a total of eighty-eight thus far, have contracted the virus while on duty in far-flung corners where illegal activities such as contrabanding and border jumping are prevalent.  Tonight, there is a total of sixty-one active cases of the disease being recorded among police officers and, despite not being successful in mandating the surrender of a list of all COVID-19 patients, that figure continues to grow.  Commissioner of Police Chester Williams made those numbers public today to emphasize that the department is actively working in the best interest of public safety at the risk of its staff.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“It is really sad for us that we currently have a number of sixty-one police officers who are infected with the COVID-19 virus.  Totally, since the start of the COVID-19 virus, we have had a total of eighty-eight infected officers, some of whom have recovered and we have sixty-one active cases.  Those active cases are currently in isolation and we also have about forty or so police officers who are in quarantine pending results.  So the COVID-19 pandemic has truly hit us hard, but despite that we continue to do our utmost best with a view to ensure that we keep our nation as safe as we can.  As had been said before, police officers on a daily basis, we have to interact with people, we conduct house searches, we conduct vehicle searches and conduct person searches.  We have to arrest people and those are activities that really and truly bring us into direct contact with the individuals, many of whom we do not know what their status are.  So it really and truly puts us at risk, even though we try our utmost best to ensure that officers wear their P.P.E.s.  At times, the P.P.E.s do not serve the purpose the way we would expect it to and that’s why I’ve always been saying that really and truly the police, we are the front line people.  Whenever the health professionals come into contact with individuals, they already have a basic idea as to the person’s status, but for us we don’t.  And even when we have instances of people calling that their neighbour is infected and the neighbour is moving around all over the place, the police again have to move in and arrest or detain those persons who are infected.”


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