As of yesterday, Tuesday, May 20, 2020,Belize is only country in mainland America with zero COVID-19 cases after Suriname reported a new case. Belize’s Ministry of Health reported last night that a further 33 samples were tested yesterday and all came out negative.
Despite the large numbers in neighboring countries in its largest tourism market, including the U.S., Belize has had a total of 18 and no new case since April 13th. Random testing continues throughout the country and the Ministry stresses that our ZERO COVID-19 status depends on all of Belize’s residents. Prevention is always going to be better so do continue to exercise physical distancing and frequent hand washing.
The government says, this has not been by accident and it’s due to the early steps it took to manage the disease by quickly closing borders, bolstering its medical capacity, implementing a State of Emergency and by closely managing the population’s movements with an ever-evolving set of laws that were changed at a moment’s notice to suit the situation as it unfolded.
As Belize moves along, residents should consider that neighboring Mexico is reporting approximately 1 in 3 of their infections needing hospitalization (higher than the global average) and 1 in 5 of those infected is a health care worker. Their number continue to rise. Even numbers in Guatemala are rising, with their government recently implementing a 3-day complete lockdown.
Belize has been able to begin a gradual return to normalcy, with most businesses and government offices already re-opened - with legislated and enforced physical distancing — and mandatory use of face masks.
Times are still hard, with residents out of jobs, running out of money and quite a lot of people running hungry and struggling to get food for their families. Businesses, large and small, are suffering huge losses and even closing down. Yesterday it was reported that Tropic Air, the largest airline in Belize, is being forced to terminate 220 employees brought on by the recession of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Belize’s tourism industry has been hit hard and residents only hope that the industry can be revamped as soon as possible in order for life to get back to ‘normal’ and for the economy to bounce back.