The National Oversight Committee led by the Prime Minister and the LEader of the Opposition presented a list of precautionary measures to be implemented in Belize. The presentation was made via a press conference this afternoon and includes controls at the borders, in the schools and on the social front.
Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition, People’s United Party: “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. It is stressed that this is not a vacation. Parents and students alike must follow the government’s advisories 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. I took a quick count and we have ninety nine people in this room so we’re still okay – we need to laugh a little bit. Four, at present Belize is prohibiting entry to 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 continuously 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 PGIA open so all other ports of entries, the Western, Southern and any other small border points will be closed. This does not apply to cargo vessels.”
The first country in our region to close its borders due to the threat of COVID-19 was El Salvador. Meanwhile, the President of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei went LIVE on social media this morning to announce that they will be closing their borders for the next 15 days after having six positive test results for COVID-19. According to Giammattei, they have been able to quarantine the six persons but are now looking at a holistic approach by closing its borders with Belize and with Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador to non-nationals. This closure is for 15 days in its first instance but will be reviewed in about seven days. President Giammattei reiterated that only Guatemalan nationals will be able to enter and diplomats provided they have urgent matters.