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Mar 16, 2020

Five Immediate Measures Taken Ahead of COVID-19 Outbreak

The highly contagious novel coronavirus continues to spread all around the world and more than one hundred and twenty countries are now affected. Across the border, Guatemala has confirmed one death and will be closing it borders for two weeks.  Fortunately, there is still no established case in Belize, but there is urgency in putting in place the appropriate measures, including the immediate closure of most points of entry, the closing of schools beginning Friday and the institution of travel bans.  This afternoon, a first joint press conference between Prime Minister Dean Barrow and the Leader of the Opposition, John Briceño, took place. A number of precautionary measures were announced to combat the virus as the nation prepares to face the crisis.

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“There were some decisions that were made and I am going to read out five of them.  The first one was that, number one: the postponement of the SIB census until next year and use some of the resources already allocated for the census to collect data associated with COVID-19.  Two: all schools will be closed effective Friday, March 20th, for fourteen days which will lead right into the Easter Break.  This is being done with a view to make up for the school days within the current school year, depending on how the situation evolves.  A) It is stressed that this is not a vacation.  B) Parents and students alike must follow the government’s advisory for social distancing and good hygiene practices.  Three: It was agreed to limit all social gatherings to no more than one hundred people.  These include indoor and outdoor gatherings and events. Four: at present, Belize is prohibiting entry into Belize by nationals of the following countries and persons who have traveled within the last thirty days from China, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, South Korea and Europe, including the United Kingdom.  This restricted travel list of countries will be constantly monitored and updated as necessary.  Five: today it was agreed to close all borders of entry in Belize for passengers and only leave the northern border and the P.G.I.A. opened.  So all other ports of entry in the western, southern and any other small border points will be closed.  This does not apply to cargo vessels.”


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