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31 Mar 2020 | 08:11 PM UTC

Belize: Government declares state of emergency and curfew from April 1

Authorities in Belize have declared a state of emergency and will impose a curfew from April 1; follow government directives

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Event

As part of efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the government of Belize has declared a nationwide state of emergency for 30 days and will implement a curfew from 2000 to 0500 (local time), beginning on Wednesday, April 1. Under the new measures, no one will be allowed to leave their homes except for specific reasons, including buying essential goods, attending medical appointments or to work in essential services. Police have been given powers to question those violating the orders and those found to be in violation may face possible prosecution. Belize has closed its borders due to the outbreak and Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (BZE) in Belize City, the country's only international airport, has been closed since Monday, March 23. The country has so far recorded three confirmed cases of COVID-19, as of Tuesday, March 31.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay. To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.