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Reopening the P.G.I.A. Will Pose a Challenge #542475
05/20/20 05:06 AM
05/20/20 05:06 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 66,919
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Last week, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced a tentative date for the reopening of the Philip Goldson International Airport to allow for international visitors to resume travel to Belize. July first is the earliest date on which the airport can reopen.  Director of Health Services, Doctor Marvin Manzanero says that the reopening of this port of entry will pose a challenge, even if the country has rapid testing capabilities.

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“That’s a question that has a changing answer every day. We are in discussion with partners in the region, and looking at that, I can’t say that it is the same thing for Central America because most airports are now, at least partially, open for commercial flights. I know neighbouring Cancun, for example, never really locked down the airport. So for us, we might be the ones in the region. I don’t know if there is a straight answer because we are still looking at process flows; how potential arriving patients or passengers will be coming through the airport. We have had an initial discussion with B.T.B.”

Marleni Cuellar

“Have we acquired the rapid tests yet?”

Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“No we don’t have. But even if we have a rapid test, we still have to look at the process flow because how rapid will the results be. If you have a flight coming in of a hundred and eighty people and you have to swab all of them; I mean that is a delay already in terms of getting them through the airport. If anyone turns up positive, you have to send that sample for a confirmation to the Central Medical Lab; does that mean you then quarantine the entire plane until you have that result. Those are the kinds of questions that keep popping up.”

Channel 5

Re: Reopening the P.G.I.A. Will Pose a Challenge [Re: Marty] #542657
Yesterday at 11:06 AM
Yesterday at 11:06 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 66,919
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
PGIA will NOT reopen to commercial flights on 1st July 2020.

As reported by the PM this morning, the Belize Government was prepared to open the International Airport on July 1st with the requirement that incoming travelers must present a negative PCR test result no later than 72 hours prior to travel.

However, IATA and the major commercial airlines rejected this requirement and said they will not fly to Belize under that condition and will wait until there are rapid tests available. Thus, there can be no official airport opening date provided at this time. As soon as reliable rapid tests are available, we are ready to open to incoming travelers. The PM personally felt that there would be rapid tests available "soon".

The PM said if there was a private charter plane (that could meet the testing requirements) wanted to come, we would allow it but since no major airlines agreed to fly here..... there will be no planes landing. Now, it's all up to the availability of rapid test kits for the opening to occur.

Re: Reopening the P.G.I.A. Will Pose a Challenge [Re: Marty] #542666
14 hours ago
14 hours ago
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 66,919
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

PGIA Plan On Pause

Belize's tourism industry will likely not open in July. That July first date had been the hope and expectation from an industry where many large interests are teetering on the verge of collapse - they just can't go anymore without an infusion of tourist traffic, and revenue.

The bad news came today in the Prime Minister's virtual press conference. For weeks he had been announcing that the plan was to open the airport in July 1st, and welcome visitors - on the condition that they can produce a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of their travel.

That had been communicated to the major airlines, but yesterday a message came from the International Air Transport Association saying that just won't work. The Prime Minister explained this morning in the opening remarks at his virtual press conference:

Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Yesterday IATA, the International Air Transport Association, sent a message to our Director of Civil Aviation. That message made clear IATA's disapproval of the Belize travel testing requirement. According to IATA, that could not work now, and Belize should wait on the development of a reliable rapid test that would allow for the airlines themselves to administer a pre-boarding test. After that the dominoes started falling. The carriers changed their tune, and it became clear that they would not fly to Belize if we insisted on travelers coming armed with a negative test result. I repeat, though, that our paramount safety concerns mandate our holding firm on that requirement."

"Long story short? I am in consequence of all this today unable to confirm July 1st as a firm reopening date for the PGIA."

"Everything suggests, though, that rapid testing nirvana is imminent. And the moment that happens, we will be good to go. Having not been able to secure July 1st, you will understand that I don't feel comfortable hazarding a guess, an estimate, as to the actual new date."

"But let me take the plunge, there is no way tourism will not be back by November 1st. I personally anticipate that it will restart long before November 1st. By November 1st something has to give, if not, as a country we will have to contemplate the possibility of re-opening even if we don't have the reliable rapid test kits that we are so earnestly hoping for. But take the chance that there can be a return to some degree of Covid-19 once we re-open to the exterior. Take the chance of running that risk or face the inevitability of our almost literally dying, because of the absence of tourism."

Channel 7

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