Monday, April 15, 2024

No more COVID-19 restrictions within Belize; some travel requirements remain

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As of Friday, April 1st, all remaining COVID-19 restrictions within Belize will be lifted as per the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Restrictions mandating facemask wearing and social distancing will be lifted, and activities such as concerts and large gatherings will be allowed. Night clubs and bars will also be allowed to operate. The only restrictions that remain in place are the requirement for visitors/tourists ages five and above to present proof of immunization or a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival, and Belizeans planning to travel out of the country must be vaccinated.

Honourable Kevin Bernard

According to Minister of Health and Wellness, Honourable Kevin Bernard, the accepted testing for unvaccinated foreigners is rapid tests done within 48 hours or a PCR within 72 hours before travel to Belize. Tourists arriving in the country, either by air, land, or sea, who are not vaccinated and do not have the required test will be tested at the entry point at their own expense. Belizeans are allowed to travel into and out of the country with proof of vaccination and are not required to be tested. If they are unvaccinated, they will be allowed to leave the country only when a valid reason is produced, like for a medical condition.

The new Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 61 of 2022 confirms lifting the mentioned restrictions. However, it warns that anyone testing positive for the virus at any entry point will be mandated to quarantine at their own expense at a government-designated facility. Anyone breaching this mandate commits an offense and can be fined up to $5,000 or serve time in prison for six months. The SI reminds visitors that travel insurance is still required before traveling to Belize. The insurance tourists must purchase can be found at www.belizetravelinsurance.com and covers medical, lodging, and cancellation expenses when testing positive for COVID-19.

Minister Bernard reminded the public to exercise caution as COVID-19 is still around, and the pandemic is far from over. “The responsibility now lies on the people. We expect that Belizeans continue to remain vigilant,” said Bernard. The minister said he would continue using the face mask in indoor places and practice social distancing whenever necessary. Bernard also pointed out that it is now time to address other health issues such as nutrition, non-communicable diseases, and mental health. He encourages unvaccinated Belizeans to get the vaccine as there is still plenty of it available free of cost.

The daily COVID-19 report shows only 234 active cases countrywide on Thursday, March 31st. There are only three hospitalizations at the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit in Belize City, one patient is fully vaccinated, and the other two are not. To this date, 654 persons have perished due to complications caused by the virus. The total amount of infections detected over the past two years, when the first case was detected in San Pedro Town in March 2020, is over 57,000, and over 522,000 tests have been done in the country.

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