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Jun 23, 2020

Belize’s Borders Likely to Remain Closed Indefinitely

A rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases reported in neighbouring Mexico and Guatemala has placed Belize on edge since it shares borders with both countries.  Despite all border points remaining closed during the state of emergency, it is anticipated that the Philip Goldson International Airport may very well reopen before our borders.  That’s because it is easier to manage the flow of persons arriving by air into the country through mandatory quarantine than it is to supervise their entrance via land borders.  According to Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte, the safety of all Belizeans is paramount.

 

Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

“That’s our most pressing concern and so I think, don’t be surprised if after June thirtieth we say that the borders, the land borders, remain closed.  Closed off to Mexico and closed off to Guatemala, not because we don’t want to deal with them or trade with them or have business with them, but they are having trouble with COVID-19 and we don’t want COVID-19, that is why we make the penalty so stiff for people who jump the border and not coming through the proper way so we can test you and quarantine you if necessary to ensure that everybody is safe.  So I could almost say that the borders will remain closed, those land borders with Mexico and with Guatemala and of course the other big issue would be the airport as to how soon we can open that.  Naturally, we believe that that is safer than the land borders, however, at the same time we have to make sure that whoever gets off those planes that if they were to have COVID-19 we would do all that we can to limit the chances that they could give it to anybody here.  So we will have to develop a protocol that would involve, no doubt, some form of test to ensure that when people land here before they exit the airport that we know that there is a slight chance or the least bit of chance that they could spread the disease.  So all of those we are working on as we speak and I think that we may have a target date for opening the airport but we’re not sure yet so we don’t want to give a date and we are not sure that we can open on that date.”


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