Since the COVID-19 coronavirus was declared a pandemic in March 2020, Belize’s timeline started simultaneously. Developments happened quickly, by the day, though Belize went 53 days without a new case. As such, the disruption of our daily routines and schedules may have caused us to lose track of the timeline of events that transpired since COVID-19 changed our daily lives in Belize. In a newsletter to his clients on Friday, May 22nd, David Kafka of ReMax/First Choice in Placencia shared a detailed outline of a coronavirus timeline in Belize. Belize’s tourism had grown over 96% from 2011 to 2018 and was one of the fastest-growing Caribbean destinations.
In March of 2020, all that came to a screeching halt with COVID-19. I have faith that Belize will be a tourist destination once again when we are all safe to travel.”
– David Kafka
Here’s a monthly timeline of how the pandemic has developed in Belize since our first confirmed COVID-19 infection.
- March 13, 2020 – Cruises see cancellations due to COVID-19.
- March 20, 2020 – Zero cases of coronavirus reported.
- March 21, 2020 – The northern border was open to cargo traffic only, and the southern and western borders were closed. It was also reported that an American vacationing here was diagnosed with COVID-19 after returning to the US. Belize begins mapping cases of the virus.
- March 23, 2020 – The Phillip Goldson International Airport is closed. Notably, the first case of COVID-19 is reported. A 38-year-old Belize national returned a few days before the report from Los Angeles and lived in San Pedro. She, unfortunately, infected her mother, who became case number two. A state of emergency was issued for Ambergris Caye with no entry or exit of the island. Many people were stranded on and off the island.
- March 25, 2020 – It was announced that twenty-three Cuban frontline medical personnel would arrive on the 26th to help during this time.
- March 29, 2020 – A 38-year-old Belizean who traveled to New York and returned to Belize was the first COVID-19 case that tested positive.
- April 3, 2020 – The fourth confirmed case of COVID-19 was a 55-year-old who lived in San Ignacio.
- April 5, 2020 – The fifth case was confirmed. A Belizean student returned from Florida, testing positive with COVID-19. All borders were closed, unless an emergency, for Belizeans trying to leave or enter the country.
- April 6, 2020 – Two more cases were confirmed, and the first death was reported. The Prime Minister issued a shutdown order for the Cayo District to go into effect on the 7th of April.
- April 8, 2020 – The eighth case was confirmed, a man who had close contact with another positive case was in the Corozal hospital.
- April 9, 2020 – Coronavirus cases nine and ten were confirmed positive.
- April 10, 2020 – Regretfully, the second COVID-19 death was reported at KHMH.
- April 11, 2020 – More testing is offered, and two more cases were confirmed, one in Corozal and another in Belize City.
- April 12, 2020 – The fourteenth case is reported.
- April 13, 2020 – Four new cases are reported with one in San Ignacio and three in Belize City. This news brings uneasiness and stress to Belizeans. The month of April in Belize’s timeline reflected this spike of COVID-19 cases.
- May 1, 2020 – A little positive news is being reported that nearly half of the COVID-19 cases are recovering. Masks are required for specific groups, and the rest of the population can move about a little more.
- May 6, 2020 – All COVID-19 cases are healed and Belize is COVID-19 free. Belize becomes one of a handful of countries COVID-19 FREE.
- May 16th, 2020 – Controlled repatriation of displaced Belizean Citizens abroad begin.
- May 23rd, 2020 – Belize hits the 40 day mark of no active coronavirus cases in country.
- June 5th, 2020 – After 53 days without reporting a new coronavirus case, Belize confirms its 19th case of COVID-19. The asymptomatic 27-year old male was apart of the controlled repatriation process for Belizeans abroad, who went into a strict and mandatory quarantine.
- June 9th, 2020 – Belize’s 20th case of COVID-19 was identified after a 22-year old female was caught entering Belize illegally on Sunday, June 7th. The female was traveling with a one-year-old child and a 63-year-old female, who were all placed in the mandatory quarantine facility in Punta Gorda and tested negative. The patient is asymptomatic.
- June 14th, 2020 – Belize confirms its 21st case of COVID-19 as one asymptomatic male repatriated amongst 15 total Belizean citizens returning through Houston. All 15 repatriated citizens went into their 14-day mandatory quarantine, as mandated by the Government of Belize.
- June 16th, 2020 – The 22nd case of COVID-19 is identified as an asymptomatic male, who was apprehended in an illegal border crossing in the Cayo District. Additionally, the 19th case makes a full recovery.
- June 22nd, 2020 – The young woman, whо rеturnеd оn a rераtrіаtіоn flіght оf Веlіzеаns along with 40 other citizens, is asуmрtоmаtіс wіth nо trеаtmеnt rеquіrеd. She, along with all repatriated citizens, go into immediate quarantine as part of the established return protocol. This marks Belize’s 23rd case.
- June 26th, 2020 – Belize records its 24th case; the individual is a Honduran national who had entered Belizean waters illegally and placed in immediate quarantine.
- June 30th, 2020 – Of 95 samples processed, 4 additional cases were imported via repatriation, with 2 thrоugh thе Nоrthеrn Воrdеr еntrу роіnt аnd 2 оn a flіght thаt аrrіvеd аt thе Рhіllір Gоldѕоn Іntеrnаtіоnаl Аіrроrt оn Frіdау, June 26. All 4 persons are asymptomatic and went into immediate mandatory hotel quarantine upon arrival in Belize. As the controlled repatriation process continues, Belize is expected to see more imported cases.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This COVID-19 timeline in Belize will be updated as developments arise.