In a press release issued June 5, the Government of Belize confirms the first two groups of repatriated Belizeans have all left quarantine after testing negative for COVID-19. Besides, to be declared recovered in Belize, individuals must receive two negative COVID-19 results. The COVID-19 Repatriation Committee, comprising of the ministries responsible for Health, Foreign Affairs, Immigration, Human Development, and ultimately, National Security, organised the domestic arrangements for repatriation. This included the identification and site assessments of the quarantine facilities, negotiation of rates, training, assigning health officers and Belize Defence Force Officers for the returning Belizeans. Not to mention, COVID-19 testing kits as well. To date, 570 applications have been received from Belizeans abroad who request to return home. Belize remains COVID-free, with all tests returned after May 6 negative.
Belizeans repatriated by sea
On May 23, Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas became the first cruise ship to drop anchor offshore Belize City in over a month. Meanwhile, 10 homesick Belizeans onboard arrive in Belize territory after not touching land for approximately 72 days. The crew members of this Royal Caribbean cruise ship became the first Belizeans repatriated by sea. However, ten more Belizeans on board Carnival Glory returned, followed by 13 Belizeans onboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Oceania Marina. Similarly from complete isolation at sea and a strict regimen onboard each ship, which did not record any COVID-19 cases on board; the Belizeans headed straight into a 14-day mandatory quarantine. Additionally, these repatriated crew members must also test negative for COVID-19 before released.
Over 570 Repatriation Applications Received to Date
Wherever possible, Belize’s embassies and consulates abroad are assisting to find alternative flights. Additionally, to also join in other existing repatriation programmes and provide assistance on a regular basis. Many countries, like Belize, are in various stages of lockdown, or border and airport closures. And of the applications received to date, 239 were from Belizeans in the USA seeking to return home. Thus, 42 percent of all repatriation requests came from the USA so far. The remaining 58 percent of Belizeans are found across the globe in Europe, Asia, and more. Find a full list of countries here.