The nationwide lockdown measures introduced under a state of emergency, declared on Thursday, April 2, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), will remain in place across Belize until Tuesday, June 30. The decision has been made despite no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 being reported between Monday, April 13, and Monday, May 25. Under the restrictions, a curfew is in place between 20:00 and 05:00 (local time) and citizens are only allowed to leave home for essential purposes such as purchasing food or for medical purposes. As of Saturday, April 25, citizens are allowed to exercise between 05:00 and 08:00. All casinos, spas, beauty salons, barbershops, gyms, sports centers, markets, bars, night clubs, and restaurants are closed. Capacity is limited on public transport and the government has established social distancing protocols.
As of midnight on Saturday, May 2, domestic public transport by land, air, and sea, resumed for essential workers and for essential purposes. All passengers are required to wear a facemask. Government offices have re-opened and a Sunday curfew has been lifted.
On Saturday, March 21, the government of Belize closed its borders with Mexico, and all borders were closed and international flights suspended on Monday, March 23. The Santa Elena border is open for residents and diplomats residing in the country and Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) is open for limited domestic since Monday, May 11. The transportation of cargo remains permitted and cargo vessels are permitted to continue to use all ports of entry.
As of Tuesday, May 26, there have been 18 confirmed COVID-19 cases recorded nationwide, with two associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay. To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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