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Ministry of Health and Wellness increases Omicron-related surveillance; flight bans not on table

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Posted: Thursday, December 2, 2021. 5:48 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Ministry of Health and Wellness says in a statement that Government is not currently considering any flight bans to and from Africa or elsewhere related to the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus (COVID-19).

“At this time there are no direct flights into Belize from any southern African countries, and many larger countries have already implemented public health measures that include flight bans on approximately seven southern African nations,” it said by way of explanation.

The team at the Ministry in collaboration with the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group and the COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group are carefully monitoring the situation. The MOHW has alerted its health teams in the districts and advised for increased surveillance of possible cases of concern (none have been reported so far). Additionally, the Ministry is in communication with Baylor College of Medicine and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure that the Central Medical Laboratory is equipped with the necessary agents to identify the variant.

The new variant has numerous mutations, which may make it more transmissible especially amongst the unvaccinated population, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has indicated that this variant poses a very high risk for global spread.

The MOHW reminds the public to get vaccinated as a matter of urgency if they have not already done so. For those eligible, the booster dose is available. The ministry reiterates the importance of adhering to public health measures, which include proper wearing of a fitted facemask covering both the nose and mouth, maintaining physical distance, avoiding crowds where possible, and regularly washing and sanitizing hands.

The Ministry will continue to monitor and provide updates to the public as more information becomes available.

 

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