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Our land borders, nor PGIA, will not be opened anytime soon as cases surge in neighbouring countries

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Posted: Friday, May 29, 2020. 12:35 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: An early loosening of entry prohibition at the land borders “was never on the cards,” according to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, because of the recent spike of COVID-19 in neighboring countries.

In the last week, Mexico’s case load rose by a quarter to 75,000, making them the 17th worst affected nation globally, Guatemala by 80 percent to 4,000, with Honduras (50 percent) and El Salvador (up 500) also recording more cases.

In any event, it will be a long wait for all land borders to reopen, the P.M. said.

As for the Philip Goldson International Airport, the National Oversight Committee and Cabinet separately by majority have agreed to its reopening subject to certain conditions.

This is to help alleviate the sharp fall in tourism earnings, some $82 million year over year.

Comparing the U.S.’s decisions to ban Chinese (3 percent) and Brazil (4 percent) travel, Barrow said Belize takes 75 percent of its visitors from America, yet we decided to do the same then, despite the greater loss of revenue compared to the U.S.

Visitors would now be asked to submit a negative PCR COVID-19 test done 72 hours before their arrival, though it was acknowledged that standards vary from state to state and county to county. There was no objection from the airlines serving PGIA, but the International Air Transport Association (IATA) disapproved via message on Thursday, recommending that we wait until a rapid test that has specificity and reliability was available for pre-boarding, and so the airlines reneged and the July 1 expected date is on hold.

 

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