Posted: Thursday, May 21, 2020. 11:20 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Belize has been relying on support from the Caribbean Public Health Administration (CARPHA) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in developing its protocol for returning Belizeans home, along with our own Ministry of Health.
But not everyone who wants to come home, can; at least not yet.
CEO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lou-Anne Burns Martinez told the Press Office’s Ask the Experts webcast on Wednesday that “…we have to ask everyone to be patient in this process. COVID has changed everything for us in terms of how we go about our daily lives, and it is no longer easy for us to jump on a bus or plane and come home when you want; that’s not the case now and it’s not going to be the case for a little while longer.”
She said Government has a duty to care to protect Belizeans at home from exposure to the virus from those coming in; it was returning Belizeans from abroad who were the first cases in Belize at the end of March.
As for the mandatory quarantine of 14 days, Burns-Martinez said two options were listed on the form: a “budget option” and a pricier one. “In terms of the range, at this time you are looking at the cost of 3 meals a day, because your meals will be provided to your rooms and the room and board. The hotels have been trying to keep the rates as low as possible. At the moment – and this is subject to change, just as you will see we have some modifications on the application form when you go online, also some of the information is subject to change – so once we are in touch with you we will give you the ranges available and they generally begin about BZ$110 a night.”
To suggestions that family can buy and stock the room with groceries, Burns-Martinez did not give an out and out no, recognizing that details would have to be worked out for individual cases; but did point out the necessity of sanitizing what has been brought. Families will not be allowed to bring in food; meals will be provided by hotel staff to avoid risk of contact.
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