BMDA Statement on Belize's Reopening of Land Boarders

It is the position of The Belize Medical and Dental Association that the opening of land boarders of this country should be postponed for the following reasons:

1. Parts of our neighboring countries, specifically Melchor de Mencos, Peten and Quintana Roo are all experiencing an upsurge in COVID 19 cases and are all classified as being in red zones (more than 100 cases per 100,000 population). As towns adjacent to our boarders, a threat of immediate influx of COVID 19 and its variant exists. Unlike PGIA tourist will spend some time in these areas before coming into Belize.

2. Belize has only vaccinated approximately 25% of its target population. Some only partially. Legislations must be implemented to ensure that our population be vaccinated, especially persons who have contact with a large number of persons on a daily basis. For example persons working in healthcare, retail, teachers, public transportation etc.

3. Other countries with better health systems are going through disastrous waves of COVID 19 at the moment.

4. Belize is a year and a half into the pandemic and we have not had recent capacity building of our healthcare workers in the front line. Medications (monoclonal antibodies and Tocilizumab) now accepted regimens worldwide, are not available in country.

5. We still have only the Central Medical Laboratory doing PCR in the country. Patient still need to wait on an average of 3-5 days for PCR results. Decentralization of testing is a matter of urgency.

6. Instead of preparing for an upsurge by hiring new personnel, some contracts of doctors have not been renewed and there is restriction on overtime worked in place. The government is also dealing with uprising among some of its healthcare workers.

7. The population has let down its guards with respect to compliance with preventative public health guideline. Lately we have been seeing gathering of large crowds.

We are aware of the economic challenge that Belize currently faces but we reiterate that things can and will get worse with an opening of land boarders at this time, unless the above points are addressed urgently.