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Press Release, Belize Tourism Board, Belize City, Belize (Monday, October 20, 2020) - As Belize moves forward to fully reopen and rebuild our tourism industry, the health and safety protocols for tourists continue to be reviewed and updated. At a press conference held on Friday, October 16, 2020 further relaxation of the restrictions on movement of visitors were announced by the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow.  The following are the updated protocols that are now in effect for the tourism industry:

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A negative COVID-19 test result presented upon arrival to Belize or determined following a rapid test at the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) will now free visitors and returning Belizeans from having to quarantine for a 10-day period. Prime Minister Barrow said that the government has realized that the mounting number of persons affected by the disease locally is disproportionate to the number of persons arriving with negative results that are still required to self-isolate. This is the latest decision by the government of Belize in order to boost the tourism industry.

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Section Five of Chapter Nine of the Representation of the People’s Act lists the qualifications that allow persons to vote in the Belize elections. These include that the person must be a Belizean, a Commonwealth citizen residing in Belize for 12 months or more, must be 18-years and over.  The Act also lists who is disqualified, but is silent about any infectious diseases.

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Southern fishermen, Lowell ‘Japs’ Godfrey and Neville Smith, honored as advocates for the sea - On Wednesday, October 14, Oceana formally recognized two outstanding Belizeans as the 2020 Ocean Heroes during its first ever virtual award ceremony. This year’s winners are Placencia fisher turned seaweed farmer, Lowell Godfrey and Punta Gorda fisher and businessman, Neville Smith.

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The Human Rights Commission of Belize issued a press release today stating that it joins the family of Marisela Gonzalez and other members of the public in their resounding calls for justice in the violent and tragic death of Marisela Gonzalez. The release went on to say that, “Violence against women is universal and cuts across socioeconomic and educational backgrounds. While domestic violence is overwhelming condemned in rhetoric, and prohibited under the laws of Belize, violence against women in the country remains disturbingly widespread.

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David Gonzalez, has been detained at the San Pedro Police Department pending murder investigations on the death of 28-year-old Marisela Gonzalez. The semi-nude, lifeless body of Marisela was discovered on Marina Drive, Monday, October 12, 2020, about 9:15a.m., 50 yards from Marina Drive on the road heading to the dump site area.

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-Press Release, Belize Tourism Board - Condé Nast Traveler announced the results of its annual Readers’ Choice Awards earlier today, with Turneffe Island Resort being awarded the coveted title of Number One Central American Resort. The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) is elated that, quite impressively, a total of five Belizean hotels received top honors for Best Resorts in Central America:

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Like the community of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve relies on tourism to finance its management. In spite of having zero revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020, Hol Chan has continued carrying out its daily operations in the Reserve. After six months of no revenues, like most businesses on the island, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve is suffering; they are reaching out for assistance with a GoFund Me page.

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Yesterday, Sunday October 4, the Office of Director of Health Services in Belize confirmed that the COVID-19 screening process at Belize’s Philip Godson International Airport picked up one positive case from an international traveler arriving to the country.

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- Press Release, Government of Belize Press Office - October 1st, 2020 ushered in a positive start to the phased re-opening of the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (PGIA) by welcoming 82 arrivals. This successful opening was made possible by efforts across the public and private sector to prioritize the safety of those arriving and those on the ground welcoming passengers to Belize.

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It has been a little over six months since Belize’s Philip Goldson International Airport was closed to tourists and Belizeans as a measure in the fight against COVID-19. The areas hardest hit have be top tourist destinations of Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and Placencia. Most of the hardships that came with the lockdown are expected to go way as the international airport reopens today, October 1, 2020.

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Alessandra Alamilla was one of the three winners for the essay competition held by Belize Electricity Limited. The essay was written on BEL’s 2020 Health & Safety Week Theme, “Let’s do our part to control this pandemic. Wear Masks! Wash Hands! Avoid Crowds!” As a result, Alessandra won herself $500.00 and her school, New Horizon S.D.A. School, $5000.00.

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Ambergris Today joins the community of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, in expressing sincere condolences to the Gomez family as Mr. Gilberto ‘Chico’ Gomez passed away peacefully at his home this morning, September 28, 2020. Mr. Gomez was a pillar and driving force in the development of Ambergris Caye and served as the first Mayor of San Pedro Town. We are very grateful for his love of Belize and our Isla Bonita; he will be dearly missed. May He Rest in Peace. Below is an account of Mr. Gomez’s Love for San Pedro as he became our first Mayor; written by Mr. Angel Nunez.

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San Pedro resident and Island artist, Natalie Arceo’s new song “I Raise My Flag” was featured last night during the Official Ceremony Commemorating the 39th Anniversary of Belize’s Independence. There were no mass gathering around the country, no parades, no concerts, no jump-ups; everything was held virtually this year in keeping with safety protocols that Belize is adhering to in order to further decrease the spreading of corona virus. With the COVID-19 pandemic, all mass gatherings and events in 2020 were cancelled, so Belize decided to celebrate virtually.

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Hurricane Nana Makes Landfall Between Dangriga and Placencia - All Clear Issued for Corozal, Orange Walk, Belize, Cayo, Stann Creek Districts Only - The National Meteorological Services of Belize and the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) advise that Nana made landfall between Dangriga and Placencia, near Hopkins and Sittee River communities between 11:45 pm and 4:00 am on the Thursday, September 3, 2020. It has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm as it moves further inland over Belize.

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ADVISORY # 3 TROPICAL STORM NANA APPROACHING BELIZE EXPECTED TO BECOME A HURRICANE BEFORE LANDFALL - NEMO DECLARES A TROPICAL STORM WATCH FOR BELIZE TUESDAY, 1ST SEPTEMBER, 2020 as at 11:00 AM The National Meteorological Services of Belize and the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) advise that as of 10:05 am local time, Tropical Storm Nana was centered near latitude 16.5N, 77.7W or about 120 miles southwest of Kingston, Jamaica.

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Press Release - Belmopan, August 26. 2020 - During a ceremony held today at the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (SRE), Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon announced the donation of ventilators manufactured in Mexico to eight Caribbean countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Saint Lucia, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. Ebrard Casaubon reflected on how, in a few months, Mexico went from lacking ventilators to attend to COVID-19 patients, to producing its on supply of ventilators.

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Thousands of island residents are jobless, worrying about food, rent and their survival during these difficult time. While very little assistance is coming form government and local governance, many small groups of Belizeans and businesses are rallying together to assist as much as possible. Food for San Pedro is the latest initiative for assistance to the island community of Ambergris Caye that is in its second lockdown since the threat of the Corona virus pandemic to Belize.

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The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO - Belize Rural South Branch) and the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) continue to closely monitor the wave named 97L that the National Hurricane Center shows headed toward the region. Indications are that this system may develop into a depression or a tropical storm. At this time, we do not anticipate any need for evacuation from the island for safety. NEMO reminds residents to stay calm, remain vigilant and to expect additional updates soon, but for now no further action is warranted.

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This morning the Director of Health Services of Belize has confirmed the fifth COVID-19 related death. The patient is from the Stann Creek District and Belize’s first female to pass due to the pandemic; she was intubated. Seventy eight new cases were confirmed last night, Tuesday, August 18, 2020 with 30 of them in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, bringing the island total to 194 COVID-19 cases. The country now has 511 active cases. No new recovery cases were reported and three persons remain intubated at the Karl Heusner Memoral Hospital.

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