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Diplomacy, Quarantine and COVID-19

Global communication concept.

Posted: Thursday, May 28, 2020. 10:35 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Belize has offered a helping hand to our neighbor in the west, Guatemala, to safely get its diplomats home despite COVID-19 fears.

According to Director of Health Services Dr. Marvin Manzanero, the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, 1961, governs travel and passage among other things for holders of diplomatic passports. They are subject to the same regulations including checking here and at home but are allowed to quarantine at home as opposed to returning Belizeans made to stay in hotels and resorts. Also included in the stay at home list are those with existing risk such as cancer.

Some 57 persons are under investigation and quarantine nationwide.

Belize’s approach can be contrasted with that of China, which according to the South China Morning Post, recently asked foreign diplomats not to return until June 1 to avoid importing more cases of COVID-19.
The Mainland Chinese earlier prohibited all foreigners, including those with visas and residence permits, from entering the country.

In a reply to the Post’s request for comment on the matter, the ministry said it appreciated the “strong support and cooperation” of foreign embassies with regards to China’s measures to contain the coronavirus and appealed for their continued backing amid “great pressure to prevent imported infections”.

As of Saturday morning, there had been over 4.5 million confirmed cases around the world and more than 307,000 deaths.
Beijing is desperate to prevent a second wave of infections as it sets about rebooting its stalled economy.

Some diplomats have complained that Beijing’s restrictions on movement are excessive and contravene the Vienna Convention.

Business communities have also called for the travel bans to be relaxed, saying they have made it impossible to continue with their normal activities.


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