After being delayed on Friday, September 4 due to Hurricane Nana, 44 more repatriated Belizeans arrive in Belize at PGIA and 10 more from land borders. Starting June, a number of repatriation flights via United Airlines have arrived in Belize after approval from the Repatriation Program; repatriation is being led by Belize’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Health and National Security. At the time of writing, Belize places all incoming citizens in a government-approved quarantine hotel before swabbing at Day 7 of quarantine. Once negative, a citizen may leave quarantine; if positive, a citizen must remain in quarantine until testing negative twice. As of September 6, a total of 2,040 Belizeans have applied for repatriation with 726 successfully repatriated. While some repatriations have arrived via cruise ships or land borders, the large majority have arrived via the Philip Goldson International Airport.
These protocols are currently in place until the last scheduled repatriation flight on August 28; Belize will reopen its international airport for leisurely travel on October 1.
Over 2,000 Belizeans Apply for Repatriation
With the controlled repatriation process, some of the returning Belizeans have tested positive for COVID-19. However, Director of Health Services Dr. Marvin Manzanero stresses that the risk posed to the community is minimal.
“Once we go through our repatriation process that allows you to go through the adequate mechanisms that has been established, following the new protocols, I don’t think that [community spread] should be a concern,” Manzanero said.
The repatriation process began on May 18, when the online application to do so became available. The controlled repatriation will continue until the airport reopens to leisurely travel on October 1; no one should attempt traveling to Belize without prior approval. Some of the aspects of the screening process of the applications include looking at those persons in most distress, economic and health issues. Also, the location of the individual(s), and where they have been in the last 21 days before Belize.