Here's Today's Press Conference. The airport is re-opening October 1st with American and United flying to Belize, United every day and American Airlines 5 days a week. Delta to start flying in Mid November. By then, stakeholders will have been trained and movement through the airport will be "down pat," says the PM.
With the Abbott tests possibly available by that time, tourists could test themselves on arrival here or at home, their choice.
It could also mean an earlier return for cruise ship arrivals. The three major visitors here, Norwegian, Carnival and Royal Caribbean, had put off visits until 2021, but that could change and "our stars can start coming back into alignment and not a moment too soon."
Dr. George Gough says he is “comfortable” with our COVID-19 supplies. We have one million masks stored, 11,000 N-95 masks with 100,000 coming in soon from Taiwanese and IDB donations. We have enough PCR te4sts to do 26,000 tests, rapid antigen test total 5000 with 10,000 more on the way, 7000 rapid antibody tests currently in supply.
We are working on reducing backlog for testing; rapid tests will now be employed. We will de-centralize testing, doing tests in all parts of the country. Prioritized to those who have symptoms and their contacts. We'll begin using antigen rapid tests to ease load on PCR testing. The Ministry has persuaded staff to delay retirement and is adding new medical students from Cuba to start as early as Monday. Front line workers will receive extra pay, as they will be paid 40 hours of overtime each worker by the end of September. Those frontline workers will be tested with the PCR tests, if they have a false negative or positive test, they will be given two Biosensor oe SOFIA 2 tests, which are 95% accurate. Hopefully that will end the problem of waiting long periods for test results.
We will not require foreign tourists to apply to visit. However, all inboard residents and citizens are classed as the Belizean diaspora, individuals with permanent residence or as long-stay non-nationals, retirees, or individuals with a valid work permit. Notably, the revised entry requirements for residents includes a mandatory PCR test upon entry at the international airport (or bring your own test) and a mandatory one-day quarantine at an approved hotel to await results; both at the traveler’s expense.