Belize ramped up its destination-wide testing capacity, and Maya Island Air adds a much-needed boost by establishing yet another COVID-19 testing center for travelers en-route to departing Belize. With the launch of testing at their Belize City Terminal inside the Sir Barry Bowen Municipal Airport (TZA), administered by Caring Hands Clinic, travelers can get a COVID-19 Abbott Rapid Test in as little as 20 minutes. Priced at US$75.00 per test, the Caring Hands Clinic testing center in Belize City is open Monday through Saturday from 9 am – 5 pm; Sunday includes an additional call-out fee. Not flying with Maya? Not to worry, anyone can get a test—regardless if you’re a citizen or tourist! Besides being compliant with CDC requirements and boarding requirements for international air carriers, each clinic (and tests used) are authorized by Belize’s Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW).
How does the antigen test work?
The Abbott rapid antigen test, which Caring Hands Clinic offers with exclusivity on the Belize market, reports a 97.1 percent sensitivity rate, which is very promising. Here’s how the Abbott test works: a nasal swab sample of mucus is twirled onto a sample card treated with a testing reagent. The card reacts to the sample, and if COVID antigens are detected, two lines will appear within 15 minutes. Not to mention, the self-contained tube with “break off” swab minimizes staff exposure—making it safer for both parties involved. Kits are FDA-approved and American made.
The clinic recommends you make appointments the day before or at least 90 minutes before leaving on Maya to the Philip Goldson International Airport. Alternatively, you may allot 45 minutes for your COVID-19 test before your check-in time at Maya Island Air. Maya requires you to be at their facility 1 hour before departure. Although the window of opportunity to be exposed during your vacation in Belize (considering all arriving passengers must test negative to enter) makes it unlikely, it is important to allow sufficient time for results. Should there be a positive result, the attending doctor and nurse on-site will follow the COVID-19 protocols according to the Ministry of Health & Wellness.
The not-for-profit initiative, spearheaded by Maya Island Air, also includes their volunteered and renovated stand-alone Terminal 1 in San Pedro Town. Meanwhile, resources also are being added by Maya Island Air at the two municipal airports in Placencia and Dangriga. Compliant with CDC requirements and boarding requirements for international air carriers, the Abbott rapid COVID-19 tests at Caring Hands Clinic start at US$75 per test. Appointments are strongly recommended given Belize’s COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
The new CDC requirements of a negative COVID-19 test for entry went into effect on January 26 and applies to all passengers two years and older, including returning U.S. citizens. For those that previously tested positive, they must show documentation of recovery. Airlines are responsible for verifying the negative test results and post-COVID paperwork.