Posted: Sunday, May 17, 2020. 3:20 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.
And for Belizeans locked out of The Jewel at the height of lockdown, the Government is preparing to get them home – but there are a few caveats.
Starting Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will post a special form on the COVID-19 Belize website to get those stranded in foreign lands and on cruise ships signed up to organize their flights home. Alternatively, they can write the Ministry directly or via the nearest embassy or consulate indicating how and when they expect to arrive. A fourteen-day quarantine on arrival is mandatory.
The likeliest route at this point is via Cancun, Mexico, but there will be a kind of “census,” the Prime Minister said, to manage the flow and be able to set up health checkpoints. Thus, if you can pay for your quarantine at a hotel or guest house or isolated at home, all the better; those who cannot pay will be paid for by Government.
Ideally, P.M. Barrow said, Government prefers not to quarantine everyone in Corozal, but to keep returnees close to their families.
A group of Mennonite businessmen off inspecting property in Peru, originally from Shipyard, Orange Walk, have clearance to return from Chetumal where they have been stuck for six weeks. They will be asked to work out their quarantine arrangements.
And cruise line employees can return too, provided that their employers – Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian – pay for their quarantine, which is the official position of CARICOM despite Carnival asking for an opt-out.
Later, Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte warned that only Belizeans who have been vetted and approved can start travelling to the border; simply showing up keeps you locked out.
Otherwise, the borders remain closed; unnecessary travel will draw a $5,000 fine or 2 years behind bars, plus 21 days in quarantine.
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