Around the globe, individual countries are trying their best to confront and overcome the coronavirus pandemic. Every day, positive cases increase, the death toll rises, and thankfully, so does the numbers of full recoveries. And while Belize continues in its quarantine order under a National State of Emergency, we are not alone. Every single person on the planet has been, or will be, affected by the pandemic. The response efforts continue with increased testing, self-isolating, and personal hygiene despite ever-changing circumstances. Here’s some of the facts you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic in Belize as of April 15, 2020.
Total Cases in Belize
As of 3PM local time on April 15th, 2020, Belize’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at 18 total. Of that, 16 people are still actively recovering, with two unfortunate deaths. Majority of the cases are found in the Cayo District and Belize District; namely, in San Ignacio and Belize City, respectively. Additionally, the Ministry of Health has further extended the 14-day period to a 21-day patient quarantine. This extension comes after Patient #1 continued to test positive, more than 15 days after being confirmed positive on March 23rd, 2020.
More Test Kits Ordered
Just this week, the Cayman Islands offered Belize “as many test kits as needed”, available at cost price. Belize has so far received 2,500 tests from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and is expecting an additional 11,500 tests. Furthermore, Belize has ordered 4,000 tests from the Roche Agency in Guatemala. The 2,000 test kits will be delivered this week, while the remaining will come next week. The Ministry of Health has also confirmed that a test kit is different from an actual test, and in fact, contains 100 tests.
Unemployment Benefits Update
Due to social distancing guidelines, the Belize Government is continuing to encourage people to file for benefits from its COVID-19 Unemployment Relief Program through its electronic portal. The government will still accept hard copies of applications, but warns that manual processing may result in a longer approval time. Those unemployed because of the coronavirus in Belize will benefit.
So far, the Economic Oversight Team has received 62,706 electronic applications, and even less physical applications. The program has approved 7,247 applications so far, and payments will be deposited April 14. The team is processing an additional 7,500 applications, and plans to approve by the end of day April 15.
Emergency Repatriation to the USA
If you are a US citizen and have found yourself displaced in Belize due to the coronavirus, the US Embassy and the Belize Government is doing an emergency repatriation exercise on April 16th, 2020. The program allows you to return to the U.S. if you are healthy and want to return home. To return either temporarily or permanently, the Houston, Texas flight must be booked with United. You must then register your travel plans and any other relevant information with the US Embassy in Belize. However, the traveler is responsible for any travel expenses.