Belize is 2nd Lowest in Coronavirus Cases for CARICOM

by Carolee Chanona

As of March 31st with 3 confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases, tiny but mighty Belize is the 2nd lowest in confirmed cases for CARICOM. Belize was the 2nd  to last of all 20 CARICOM member nations and the last country in the Americas to confirm our 1st positive coronavirus case on March 23rd, 2020. Joining our Caribbean neighbours with a national state of emergency, we can proactively avoid community spread.

Belize’s Timeline

The first preventative measure was introduced on March 15th  with prohibited entry to Level 4 countries and school closures. On March 23rd, a state of emergency for Ambergris Caye was declared. Now, a nationwide state of emergency will come into effect 11:59 pm on April 1st for 30 days. All ports of entries remain closed under the SOE, but repatriation of Belize nationals will result in mandatory quarantine at the traveller’s expense. To date, 103 coronavirus testing kits have been administered in Belize with 3 positive confirmed cases.

Measures for the Caribbean

Other tourism-reliant Caribbean nations also extend further quarantine restrictions. The dual-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda imposed a 7-day 24 hour curfew April 2nd to 9th; they currently have 7 coronavirus cases. With only 8 coronavirus cases, St. Kitts & Nevis has also imposed a 24 hour 4-day curfew. Additionally, the Bahamas has issued an emergency order closing the territory’s air and seaports with 15 cases.

National State of Emergency

Both the coronavirus and its quarantine measures are novel. Limiting free movement under a state of emergency will confront this pandemic and ensure Belize’s cases remain as low as possible. As a reminder, the nationwide 8:00 pm to 5:00 am curfew comes into effect at 11:59 pm on April 1st. This state of emergency will last for 30 days in the first instance. There is exceptions for essential service workers, with examples including healthcare workers, food production workers, and security officers.

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