COVID-19 seems to have affected everybody…and their mama, for real. On the news, there are reports from around the globe about how many cases and how many deaths each country has. But there is one country that is not really affected by this coronavirus: Belize, in Central America.
Belize was not only the last country in the Americas to report its first coronavirus case on March 23, 2020, Belize is also the first in the Americas to report no active COVID19 cases.
Since Tuesday, May 5, Belize reported it’s last two of eighteen cases testing negative and officially declared recovered. In the Caribbean, Belize now joins Suriname and Anguilla to report no active cases of infection, hospitalization, or new deaths.
More than 241,000 people have died from COVID-19 worldwide, while some 3.3 million infections have been confirmed in at least 187 countries and territories. Fortunately, more than one million people have recovered to date.
But Belize is on another level. According to the United Nations, Belize has a population of 397,628 people. The country makes about $3 Billion annually with roughly $1.3 Billion coming from tourism. The services sector (including banks, restaurants, hotels, and personal services) is the largest part of their economy, totaling 57 percent.
Agriculture supplies about 30 percent of all jobs there. It consists of manual labor dominated by men from Honduras and Guatemala. Belizeans predominate in professional jobs and white-collar services. They commute daily from various parts of the country or stay during the week in Belmopan, Belize City, and the cays, where tertiary-sector jobs are available.
So how did this country become COVID-19 free?
Some say it was quick to react. Upon hearing of the pandemic, Belize closed most of its ports of entry, but its Santa Elena Border and Philip Goldson International Airport remain open, according to the country’s Ministry of Health. Cargo vessels may continue to use all ports of entry.
Foreigners who have been in a European country, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, or South Korea in the past 30 days are not allowed to enter Belize.
Many hotels closed up shop and said goodbye to their last guests at the end of March with the international airport closing before any cases were even reported in their country. From March to the start of May Belize remained under heavy lockdown. The country was placed under a national state of emergency for 30 days.
According to Caribbean Lifestyle, the country has begun to lift restrictions allowing some businesses to open. Now, everyone is required to use a face mask when in public and social distancing remains a mandatory practice.
Here’s a timeline of their actions:
– Belize confirmed its first case of coronavirus on March 23, nearly 2 months after the United States confirmed its first infection.
– On March 30, when the country had 3 cases, the Government of Belize announced a national state of emergency for 30 days.
– A few days later, Belize’s borders were closed even to Belizean nationals seeking entry. Though then-considered extreme, this decision was a turning point to avoid community spread from imported cases. Nationals may only enter the country under a medical emergency, while borders remain closed for exiting. However, exits for non-nationals are possible through various repatriation flights.
Source : Black Doctor Org