Going back to the changes in the quarantine regulations for tourists and Belizeans, the Prime Minister delved into what the changes would entail and the conditions that travelers would have to meet to qualify.
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “The NOC agreed that the ten day quarantine or self isolation for Belizeans, permanent residents, qualified retired persons, work permit holders, foreign second home owners, long stay foreigners would no longer be prescribed and penalized under the Quarantine Act SI 136 of 2020. In other words by Sunday night so that when you wake up first thing Monday morning there will be the amendments that would have been signed into law by the minister, amendments to the current SI 136 of 2020 and among those amendments ill be the dropping, the omission of any reference to a requirement for the categories I’ve just indicated and let me repeat Belizeans, Belizean citizens, permanent residents, qualified retired persons, work permit holders, foreign second home owners as well as long stay foreigners we will drop the requirement that they be obliged to quarantine for ten days after having come in with their PCR test or having tested negative at the airport. The second big decision none of the permitted categories, those that I have listed: Belizean citizen, Belizean permanent residents, work permit holders, foreign second home owners, long stay foreigners none of the will any longer be required to write to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or to the BTB for approval to enter Belize. That of course the having to write never applied to or doesn’t apply to Belizeans and permanent residents and QPRs under the current SI but the others were obliged to write to Foreign Affairs in the case of the second home owners and the long stay foreigners, we will drop that. Also business persons, persons who have business in interests in Belize before coming in were obliged I think to write to the — one set had to write to Foreign Affairs and one set had to write to the BTB so none of them will have to write to anybody for approval the airport is opened you can come clearly again on the condition that you bring your negative PCR test result or that you are subjected to our testing at the PGIA.”
So, what has brought on the changes? According to the Prime Minister the answer is simple.
Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “Since these people that are coming in via the PGIA now that there’s the reopening, since they come either with a negative PCR test that’s no older than seventy two hours or are tested at the airport and are only allowed to enter the country if they are negative it is inconsistent to say to them you need to quarantine for ten days when there are masses and masses of untested Belizeans who are able to move freely about. It doesn’t make a great deal of practical sense to us and hence the decision to switch from what is currently mandatory breach of which is punishable by court action, we thought the time had now come for us to move away from that regime and to go to moral suasion and the ramping up as I said of the public relations campaign. In other words the people who come who will not be obliged to quarantine will be advised that for their own sake they’re going out into the Belizean community where there are messages of untested people, some of whom might be positive without our knowing it and for their own sake they might want to in fact voluntarily observe the ten day quarantine given that as well while they would have been sure to be negative upon arrival there is a slight chance they could become positive in the ten days following their arrival with their negative test or in the ten days following a negative test in terms of the result of a rapid antigen test done by our authorities at the airport but the bottom line is it will not be a mandatory requirement and so there is no question of any penalty for those who choose not to voluntarily quarantine.”