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Dec 31, 2021

Are Cruise Passengers a Risk to Belize?

On Thursday, as many as fourteen thousand visitors disembarked from six vessels anchored outside of Belize City, marking a record for cruise arrivals over the past two years.  It’s a significant improvement in numbers in the tourism industry; however, with the Omicron variant wreaking havoc in the United States, many are wary that passengers onboard these cruise ships are bring the new variant onshore.  Dr. Natalia Beer of the Ministry of Health says measures are in place to contain the spread of the virus should it be detected on the ships.  In terms of the number of tests presently available, Dr. Beer says that there is enough to cover the next two months.


Natalia Beer

Dr. Natalia Beer, Technical Advisor, Maternal Child Health

“We know that the cruise ships are putting in their own public health measures, from boarding passengers that have to be negative to be able to board the ships and if there is any positive case and there’s any transmission ongoing, the working relationship that the ministry has with these companies allow for the sharing of information if there is any person that was detected positive and for our team to implement the public health measures to contain if there is any positive case on these ships that are arriving to Belize. From the first notice of Omicron being a cause of infection among persons, we have been procuring or started the process to procure more tests, more COVID-19 testing kits.  So we don’t foresee that there will be a shortage of COVID-19 tests, I don’t think in the next two months.  We are working on that.”

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