Belize got praise from throughout the international community for its sensible approach to reopening its borders during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s becoming clear that the issue isn’t going away overnight. That’s what makes it so reassuring to see Belize’s business community step up and take on some of the responsibility of creating a healthy and safe environment for both locals and tourists. Local airline Maya Island Air specializes in flights to, from, and within Belize – and they’re helping shore up issues with getting tested for COVID-19.
Why It Matters
Belize has put in place a number of rules that are specifically designed to protect travelers and locals. This includes the requirement of new certifications and safety procedures for hotels, restaurants, and other businesses that want to be able to serve travelers. In fact, being able to prove that you have reservations for one of these gold star certified hotels is a requirement for being able to travel to Belize. Another requirement is proof of a negative COVID-19 test both within 96 hours of leaving for the country and again before returning to the United States. In an effort to protect people on both sides of the equation, this is a requirement even if you’re already vaccinated.
This is a necessity intended to serve the greater good, but it can still put a higher level of expectation on the individual. Fortunately, Maya Air is stepping up to the plate to offer a not-for-profit initiative. The Caring Hands Clinic Antigen Test Center is open in the Philip S. Goldson International Airport, making it an especially sensible choice for people coming to or leaving the country. But the clinic’s doors are open for everyone including both locals and travelers. And while most travelers fly in and out of the Belize City Airport, Caring Hands offers their low-cost testing services at practically any major hub you could find yourself. Caring Hands Clinics are also available at the regional airports for San Pedro in Ambergris Caye and Placencia in the Southeast. And if you don’t find yourself near an airport, you can also find Caring Hands antigen testing centers in Dangriga, Hopkins, and San Ignacio. Whether you’re simply looking to get your paperwork for your flight or you’re concerned that you’ve actually contracted COVID-19, there’s an affordable solution within reach.
What the Clinic Offers
Testing for COVID-19. Photo via Caring Hands Clinic
Caring Hands Clinic is the only clinic in Belize to offer antigen testing – and that means it’s the best place to come if you want the quickest, most accurate, and most painless testing you can find. This exclusivity comes with a 97.1% accuracy rate, and the simple card that displays the results will reveal whether or not you’re infected within 15 minutes of taking the test. All it requires is a simple swab of the inside of your mouth.
And since the services offered by Caring Hands Clinic are backed by Maya Island Air, you can be confident that the testing you get will meet the federal guidelines and standards. The testing performed at these clinics has been approved by the FDA, and it’s compliant with both Belize national protocol and that established by the Centers For Disease Control in the United States. It’s a simple approach that the patient can handle themselves, reducing the risk of contact and exposure for both parties. Whether you’re flying into the United States or another country, you can be assured that these tests will provide you with the international standards for your destination country.
What to Expect
The use of swabs makes the actual process of testing as painless as possible, but these clinics are also designed to be efficient and convenient as well. If you’re looking to have testing performed before flying out of Belize, you’ll probably want to make an appointment ahead of time. While Caring Hands Clinics serve walk-in patients six days a week, it can be hard to predict how crowded they’ll be. Ideally, you should try to schedule an appointment the day before you have to be at the airport, but you can also set aside 45 minutes before your flight to perform the testing. Bear in mind that if you’re on a Maya Air flight, you’ll be required to check-in at the terminal an hour before your flight leaves.
Caring Hands and Maya Air also make sure that testing isn’t too much of a weight on your wallet. Simple antigen testing is available for $75 or less, and they also offer more comprehensive PCR testing. In either case, you can conveniently book your testing at the same time you book your flight through Maya Air.
The rules are in place to keep all of us safe, but it’s a good thing that organizations like Caring Hands are stepping in to make the process of testing as seamless as possible. Go ahead and plan your trip today confident in the knowledge that the testing you’ll need is readily available.