Posted: Friday, May 28, 2021. 1:22 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: The Government of Belize announced earlier this month that it plans to reopen land borders to receive tourists; a decision which Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations Anthony Mahler says he is confident will not adversely impact the country with regard to COVID-19 cases.
Mahler, speaking at today’s meeting of the House of Representatives, said that he does have apprehensions about the reopening but is confident that the operating procedures that will be put in place will be enough to keep the situation under control.
Mahler made his case by looking at the reopening of the Philip Goldson International Airport and pointing out that there have been minimal positive cases identified there, despite the growing number of people coming in.
“The airport represents about 75 percent of the overnight arrivals coming into this country. The land borders then and the seaports altogether, the other 25 percent. So you’re dealing with much smaller numbers than through the airport but the protocols will be a little bit more stringent,” Mahler said.
He noted that rapid test results will need to be within the last 24 hours instead of 48, and PCR test results will need to be within 72 hours instead of 96 hours, and anyone who tests positive will be sent back.
“I want to stress this to the Belizean public, we are not opening the borders for a free-for-all. It is only for tourists who are passing through or coming into this country staying at a Gold Standard hotel or moving through this country with a Gold Standard tour operator. It is not for Belizeans want to go to Chetumal to party or hang out,” Mahler added.
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