LADYVILLE, Belize District, Wed. July 8, 2020– Eighteen Belizeans stranded in El Salvador have been returned home and 32 Salvadorans stranded in Belize were returned to their country onboard the Salvador Air Transport plane that brought home the Belizeans.
The arrival of the flight with the Belizeans and the subsequent departure of the Salvadorans occurred on Friday afternoon at the Philip Goldson International Airport in Ladyville, and it was made possible through collaboration between the International Organization of Migration (IOM) in Belize and in El Salvador, and the Government of Belize.
The Belizeans were met by officials from the Ministry of Health and the IOM. After they were welcomed home, they were swabbed as per the Ministry of Health COVID-19 Protocol, after which they were placed in the mandatory 14-day quarantine, during which they will be monitored for COVID-19 symptoms.
They will be released to go home to their loved ones after they test negative for the virus twice.
Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services at the Ministry of Health, announced yesterday that the swabs taken from all of the Belizeans from El Salvador on Friday at the airport tested negative, and they will remain in quarantine for a short time longer.
Manzanero said that the Belizeans were trapped in El Salvador due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The staff of the International Organization of Migration in both countries said that before the repatriation they were given assistance, including food, medical treatment, lodging, hygiene kits, and COVID-19 protective gear. They said they followed security protocols implemented in both countries.
In Belize, social distancing and the wearing of a face mask are mandatory, as is frequent hand- washing.
The organizations also helped with medical screening to ensure that the repatriated persons are COVID-19-negative.
So far 974 Belizeans in other countries have applied to come home through the repatriation program; 811 have been approved, and 246 Belizeans have returned home.