The Philip Goldson International Airport is now set to reopen on October 1. The previous reopening date of August 15 was postponed after there was a rapid increase in confirmed cases of covid-19. However, this time around, the Prime Minister stated that barring a hurricane, the PGIA will reopen and the government will have everything in place to ensure the safety of citizens. Several airlines are already set to bring passengers into Belize, as explained by PM Dean Barrow.
Rt.Hon Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “We have now though, confirmation from American Airlines that they will start to fly again to Belize on October first 2020. They will come initially five days a week everyday except I believe Tuesday and Wednesday. And then United is also indicating that they will start coming back to Belize on a regular basis – they bring the repatriation flights every Friday as you know – but they will start coming back on October first and they are proposing to come everyday that’s the last email we got from them. So October first it is. Delta that had earlier asked for September third even before we made a decision that we couldn’t go September third they’re having I supposed like all other airlines but they’re having pronounced problems and I’ve just seen where they announced cutting back on domestic and international flights in that context they have said that they will not come until November twenty second I believe it is now but that’s a good enough start. American five days a week, United seven days a week as of October first and within six weeks or so thereafter Delta coming directly from Atlanta we’re not yet sure how many flights per week.”
Another important aspect that will be in place by the time the reopening occurs is the use of rapid tests. PM Barrows explained the benefits of the particular tests that Belize will be using.
Rt.Hon Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize: “We will begin to use one of the Biosensor antigen rapid tests as part of our testing regime. Now remember what PAHO is saying you use the antigen rapid test to test the contacts of those that are proved positive by way of the PCR test. You also use the antigen rapid test for people who as they say are ambulatory, are able to walk around but that exhibit symptoms you test those people with the antigen rapid test that clearly eases the load on your PCR testing capacity. The particular Biosensor antigen rapid test that we will use produces results in fifteen to thirty minutes. If you go and look at it you will see that there is actually a little audio visual, a video provided that shows you how the particular one that we are using operates. It produces results in fifteen to thirty minutes and it obviates any need for processing by our overworked central lab. It needs no operating equipment, there are some of them that come with a little machine that does the processing, this one that we are using is all together self contained so you need no additional equipment for operational purposes. The processing of the sample is done in this very basic way and you get your results I repeat in fifteen to thirty minutes.”
The PGIA has been closed since March 23.