The Government of Belize, in what might be considered a desperate move to gain US dollars, has announced a plan for a limited reopening of the tourism industry. The Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) will be opened for traffic on August 15, but at that time the only hotels that will be allowed to receive guests are those that have the Tourism Gold Standard Certificate of Recognition and have the capacity to provide full service. Some owners of the hotels that are not qualified to receive guests from abroad are understandably not happy.
Those companies/persons whose hotels do not meet the requirements set by the authorities, they should have hope that they will be able to participate soon, because no disease organism has ever seen so much resources directed its way to defeat it. COVID-19 has thrown much of the world into a severe recession, and so every possible treatment is being explored.
Many people, especially persons who are not directly involved in the tourism industry, think that the move is too risky, especially since the country from which we get the most visitors, the USA, is experiencing an upsurge of COVID-19 cases. It is likely that persons involved in healthcare are particularly worried about the development, because per capita it appears that they are the ones most likely to be infected with the disease, even though they observe the safety measures more strictly than any other group.
Tourists wishing to visit Belize will have to undergo strict testing procedures, but it is accepted that no safety measures we take will be 100% effective in ensuring that they are free of the virus.
The authorities have put in place a number of measures to further decrease the possibilities of an infected visitor spreading the virus to the wider population, and we suggest another measure, a layer of insulation that should be put in. Some lucky Belizeans will have the benefit of jobs when the tourists arrive, but those who are directly in contact with tourists should be allowed only limited interaction with their families and the rest of the population.
The reopening of the PGIA will also likely mean an increase of Belizeans returning home to the precious Jewel. There just can’t be too much let-up on the restrictions for our brothers and sisters coming home, so, while mandatory quarantines will no longer be demanded, to avoid those 14-days in isolation they will have to show they are free of the disease by producing a PCR test taken within 72 hours of their arrival, and they will be asked to self-isolate for a period.
Belize’s exposure to COVID-19 could increase with the re-opening of schools on August 10. The authorities are working on measures to prevent any spread of COVID-19 in schools, one of these being to have fewer students in classrooms so that adequate physical distancing can be maintained. One recommendation is that half the students report to school in the morning and the other half in the afternoon, or half the students go to school for one week while the other half report the following week.
Opening schools, coupled with opening the PGIA for visitors and the return of Belizeans from COVID-19 stricken areas, will very likely lead to increased cases of the disease.
Belizeans are well aware of the safety measures to reduce exposure to COVID-19, and we have 45 days to tighten our defense. The medical experts have spoken; we know that we must wash our hands often, keep surfaces clean, and avoid touching our faces with unclean hands. We know that maintaining a distance of six feet between ourselves and all persons who don’t live in our homes is essential. We also know that we should wear face masks whenever we are in public areas.
These safety measures are critically important if we will protect our health. The economic benefits of observing the safety measures are also enormous. The only way tourism, our most essential industry, can work, is if we remain COVID-19 free, or at least keep the disease contained.
We should appreciate another benefit of observing the safety measures, which is that we should see a dramatic reduction of cases of the nasty influenzas. The dangerous swine flu, H1N1, is still out there, and also other debilitating flu bugs. Observing the safety measures will help us to contain these diseases.
One safety measure that has been met with some resistance is the wearing of face masks. Many Belizeans are wearing masks, but there are a few who appear in public places without their masks, even though there is a law mandating its use.
Some of these people are superstitious, and some of them feel that faith in God can buck God’s science. Some of these people are defiant. We have 45 days to show these people that the medical experts who protected us from tuberculosis and malaria and small pox are much, much smarter than we are.
Terrible news for 4 countries: COVID-19 immunity might only last a few months
At the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK, USA, Brazil, and Sweden chose a path very different from what the Chinese took to contain the disease in Wuhan, China, where the disease was first observed. The Chinese immediately locked down Wuhan, and this drastic measure was successful.
Of the countries mentioned that did not follow the Chinese approach, two of them, the UK and the USA, thought about letting the disease run through their population before they introduced measures to reduce the spread. Sweden put in far less restrictions than its immediate neighbors, and Brazil’s central government did nothing at all.
Sweden’s response has been described as a failure, and the situation in Brazil is described as a disaster. The UK and the USA, for their vacillation, have brought great pain upon their people.
Some experts are saying that COVID-19 antibodies may weaken in just a couple months. This is bad, bad news for the world, and salt in the wounds of those four countries. If people developed lasting resistance to COVID-19, then there would have been some gain in the pain. It appears that these four countries erred gravely.