Belize Tentatively Plans to Reopen International Airport on July 1

by McNab Editorial Team

The country of Belize is tentatively planning to reopen the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) on July 1, as the country lays out its exit strategy from lockdown. Today, the Prime Minister of Belize Hon. Dean Barrow has announced the country of Belize is going into a new phase of easing restrictions for both local and international travel. However, that date is extremely tentative on no further coronavirus cases in Belize. Additionally, this decision for Belize to reopen the international airport is contingent on what’s happening in the U.S.A. Belize has been closed to overseas arrivals since April 5, even to Belizean nationals.

Since confirming the 3rd coronavirus case in-country, Belize’s borders were closed with a national state of emergency. The Government of Belize later went on to roll out strict lockdown measures for residents. Besides border closures, there is also a curfew from 8 pm to 5 am, coming with a fine of BZ$5,000 for anyone in violation. However, the lockdown has helped to contain the virus; Belize currently has zero active cases today, with a total of 18 cases of COVID-19 and 2 deaths recorded. Belize is 1 of only 12 countries in the world that are currently COVID-19 free.

Aruba was the first Caribbean destination to announce a specific date to reopen its borders (and international airport), joined by Belize. Several other Caribbean destinations are also preparing similar plans to reopen, though none have officially announced a date. This also couples CARICOM’s plans for intra-regional Caribbean travels, given COVID19 is “largely contained” within the region.

Belize’s COVID-19 Timeline

Belize confirmed its first case of coronavirus on March 23, nearly 2 months after the United States confirmed the first infection. On March 30, when the country had 3 cases, the Government of Belize announced a national state of emergency for 30 days. Though then-considered extreme, this decision was a turning point to avoid community spread from imported cases. Nationals may only enter the country under a medical emergency, while borders remain closed for exiting. However, exits for non-nationals are possible through various repatriation flights. Besides being the last country in the Americas to report infection, Belize was also the first for them to report no active cases. Announced May 14, Belize is tentatively planning to reopen its international airport (PGIA) for travel on July 1. However, land and sea air entry may be later than that. The Government of Belize continues to plan with the medical advice of health professionals.

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