Right now, Belizeans employed in the tourism industry are making their final preparations to receive the first group of international visitors who will fly to Belize on October 1st. That's when the Philip Goldson International Airport will finally reopen.

Before COVID-19 afflicted the world, Belize was known internationally as a tourist destination with unmatched diving sites.

With the return of tourism imminent, one professional who works in the scuba diving sub-sector is hoping to empower his fellow colleagues with the latest information on best practices for the profession.

He's Abner Bacab, a dive injuries medical specialist, who is licensed by the Ministry of Health to practice as a hyperbaric chamber technician. He specializes in treating medical emergencies which could happen during recreational scuba diving.

Next week Tuesday evening, he will be hosting a webinar, where participants will get to interact with some of the world-renown experts in scuba diving. He's hoping to provide his Belizean colleagues with a refresher on the basics, but in this virtual forum, there will also be a discussion on what special protocols need to be implemented to address the new COVID-19 world we now live in.

This afternoon, he spoke to us via teleconference to invite all the local scuba diving professionals to attend this webinar:

Abner Bacab - Dive Injuries Medical Specialist

"A webinar, we're hosting on the 29th of September, 2020, at 6 p.m. Belize time. It's going to be a zoom meeting. We're gonna be providing the links, the password, and anything that you need to be able to join. So, we're reaching out to all divers, scuba divers, dive masters, instructors - anybody that is related [to these fields] and is going back to work, going back to scuba diving October 1st. We know that the Belize Tourism Board reportedly already have tourists who are already scheduled to come to Belize. In the health and safety webinar, we decided, you know what? We need to address this COVID-19 pandemic, and how it has affected our people, our professionals, our dive masters, and instructors. We don't know to what extent or how many of them were infected with COVID. They have recovered, it is true. But, when it comes to scuba diving, it is a different world there. So, there are guidelines and protocols that we need to follow. So, we're having this Dr. David Charash. He's a well-known, US Board-certified diving physician who's going to be hosting a webinar. He's going to be talking about fitness to dive, what every diver should know. We're going to go over the RSTC medical questionnaire. This is a questionnaire for scuba divers. Before the go diving, they need to answer different questions. So, this one is actually already included in COVID-19 questions that everybody needs to answer. But, more into more depth, the doctor is going to be talking about procedures, guidelines, and COVID-19 post return to diving, [for] the divers who were infected, what procedures and guidelines they need to follow. If you were infected with mild symptoms, moderate symptoms, severe symptoms, there are guidelines we need to follow here in Belize. So, I think this is going to be a very educational webinar for all divers in Belize. And, we hadn't done one like this."

The webinar takes place via Zoom, and if you would like to attend, you can find the zoom link on Abner Bacab's Facebook page. Additionally, you can contact him directly at the telephone number, 615-2998, for more information.

Channel 7