Posted: Thursday, March 31, 2022. 9:49 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: Friday may be April Fools Day, but the following news is no joke: all remaining restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic except for travel across the borders and tourists will be lifted.
It will no longer be mandatory to wear masks anywhere and clubs and bars can now re-open.
But despite the low COVID numbers in recent weeks, the virus is still very much active and the Ministry of Health and Wellness counts on individuals not to go wild and inadvertently bring the virus back.
Minister Kevin Bernard told reporters that unvaccinated tourists arriving by air must bring along a negative rapid test done within 48 hours of arrival or PCR test within 72 hours; if arriving by land or sea, likewise. Belizeans above 12 years of age leaving the country must be fully vaccinated. An unvaccinated tourist who does not have a test result will be tested on arrival at their expense. The health insurance regulation also still applies, subject to further review by the Belize Tourism Board.
The Minister noted this morning that in the case of schools, “the Ministry of Education has advised Managers that while the mask mandate is no longer going to be in place, we recommend that Schools continue to adhere to the safety protocols as best as possible and based on their own circumstances.”
Social distancing will no longer be mandatory but Minister Bernard told LOVE FM that “The responsibility now lies on you, the individual and we expect that Belizeans continue to remain vigilant of course, and at the same time, being responsible.” He says he personally will continue to be masked in public and indoors if the situation is not comfortable for him.
As for reporting of COVID-19 data, the daily video report is gone and the daily infographic will continue to be posted on Facebook and elsewhere.
It is now time, the Minister said, to begin addressing other health issues such as nutrition, non-communicable diseases, and mental health, as well as vaccination, both for COVID-19 and other diseases. The Ministry will re-deploy individuals to push vaccination and is working on getting pediatric vaccines for children below the age of 12 and sensitizing the public on the importance of vaccination. Belize has remained stubbornly below half the population taking first doses and full vaccination since last year.
The lifting of the Covid-19 regulations will take effect at midnight today, Thursday, March 31.
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