Over 1,000 Belizeans Apply for Repatriation

With Belize introducing its 5-Phased Travel Reopening Plan last month, on-going repatriations continue for Belizeans abroad. Starting June, a number of repatriation flights via United Airlines landed in Belize after approval from the Repatriation Program; repatriation is being led by Belize’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Health and National Security. Upon arriving in country, all passengers are swabbed and transported to designated facilities to spend a 14-day mandatory quarantine, at their own expense. As of July 9, a total of 1,039 Belizeans applied for repatriation with 918 approved. Currently, 670 Belizean coordinated returns are in progress, with 290 successfully repatriated.

Some repatriations have arrived via cruise ships, where they had been employed. However, the large majority have been arriving through the Philip Goldson International Airport.


Repatriations & Positive COVID-19 Cases

With the controlled repatriation process, some of the returning Belizeans have tested positive for COVID-19. However, Director of Health Services Dr. Marvin Manzanero stresses that the risk for an increase in cases is still minimal.

“Once we go through our repatriation process that allows you to go through the adequate mechanisms that has been established, following the new protocols, I don’t think that should be a concern,” Manzanero said.

The repatriation process began on May 18, when the online application to do so became available. The controlled repatriation will continue until the airport reopens to leisurely travel on August 15; no one should attempt traveling to Belize without prior approval. Some of the aspects the screening process of the applications includes looking at those persons in most distress, economic and health issues. Also at the location of the individual(s), and where they have been in the last 21 days.

Travel regulations and requirements are subject to change as new developments in COVID-19 arise. It is important to visit www.travelbelize.org/health-safety before booking travel or visiting Belize.

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