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On Saturday, March 14, 2020, at around 5:00p.m. Belizean authorities refused the entry of a water taxi traveling to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize from Chetumal, Mexico. The vessel contained 50 passengers, 16 of them European and 34 of other nationalities, all of which had to return to Chetumal due to the COVID-19 break out in European countries.

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BCCI Calls on Private Sector to Refrain from Price Gouging on Essential Supplies The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) calls on the business community to refrain from effecting any price increases on essential supplies during this period of time when the entire global economy is faced with the COVID-19 threat, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified as a worldwide pandemic.

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Belmopan. March 11, 2020. - To date, Belize has no confirmed case of COVID-19 but given the growing public health concern, the national surveillance committee of the Ministry of Health is hereby advising on the following measures for travelers with immediate effect coming to Belize: a) All nationals coming from an area with ongoing transmission who land in Belize and appear with cold or flu-like symptoms will be placed under self-isolation upon arrival and all cost related to that will be the responsibility of the traveler.

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A new US$46 million initiative to promote Blue Economic priorities in the Caribbean, in support of the sustainable use and conservation of the region’s vast and diverse marine ecosystems and resources, started with a two-day inception workshop on 5-6 March at the Best Western Plus Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City.

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Press Release - The Cayo Rosario Island is located within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve (HCMR) conservation area of Zone E. This island was privately owned prior to the 2015 expansion of the reserve. In May 2018, an Environmental Compliance Plan (ECP) was granted to the Cayo Rosario Development Limited by the Department of Environment (DOE). This was an environmental clearance to proceed with development, provide that they obtain the necessary permits from the relevant government departments.

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Cayo Rosario is located within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and is in immediate danger, threatened by a development project on and around a tiny mangrove island that is home of the protected and economically lucrative, permit, tarpon and bonefish species. A berm has been created on the water causing damage to the area and local fishermen and local activists were upset at rallied at Cayo Rosario on Thursday, March 5, 2020 to protest against the work being carried out.

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The National Sports Council, Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, and Culture, hosted the first annual meeting of the CODICADER Executive Committee where Costa Rica handed over the Presidency of CODICADER to Belize on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. Minister of Education, Youth, Sports, and Culture, Hon. Patrick Faber was present to receive this honor. Representatives from Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador were present at the ceremony.

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The President of the Senate, Honourable Darrell Bradley, recently attended the 38th Ordinary Meeting of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments of Central America and the Caribbean Basin (FOPREL) that was held in the Chamber of the Mexican Senate in Mexico City.

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Belmopan. March 3, 2020. In December 2019, Cabinet approved measures from the Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development (MFFESD) to control the use of gill nets in Belize’s maritime waters. Based on input from fishermen, concerned citizens, economists and marine experts, these measures were intended to control the negative impacts of gill nets while protecting the income rights of gill net fishers.

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The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation is pleased to inform the general public that on Friday, February 28, 2020, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation of Belize, and Ms. Nicole Marder, Secretary of State in the Office of Tourism of the Republic of Honduras, signed the Air Transport Services Agreement Between the Government of Belize and the Government of the Republic of Honduras.

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On Friday, February 21, 2020, over 20 participants received their certificate of completion from the Return to Happiness Program (RTH Program) which was carried out by UNICEF, the Ministry of Local Government and the San Pedro Town Council.

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The Ministry of Agriculture hosted a half-day workshop for fishers, buyers, retailers, and other relevant government agencies to examine a value chain analysis and proposed strategy to develop Belize’s tilapia industry. The workshop was held at the George Price Center for Peace and Development in Belmopan. Supported by the Caribbean Value Chains team of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the one-to-five-year strategy is expected to help boost market opportunities for tilapia. The approach may also potentially be applied to other priority crops and commodities.

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Carnaval 2020 ended with a bang as the two comparsas group gave it their all and danced their hearts out and paint revelers were out in the park having much fun painting and dancing!Dona Flora's Group theme was "Las Sirenitas" and they wore brightly colored costumes and head pieces and gracefully danced in full carnival spirit!Los Barbies without fail shook what their momma gave them as they danced to a fun Garifuna beat – Sei Sei Bei! They were in high spirits singing and dancing and having so much fun entertaining their audience.

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The Belize Ministry of Health continues to monitor the global situation in relation to COVID-19, which has now spread to 34 countries outside of mainland China. The World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control have reported a decrease in the number of cases in mainland China, particularly in Wuhan Province; however, it is anticipated that the number of cases outside of China will continue to rise.

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Day two of El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro was full of laughter, color and fun! The comparsas never fail to impress this year once more as two comparsa groups hit the streets of San Pedro and danced the night away.Dona Flora’s Group hit the streets with bright and colorful costumes as “Carnavalistas” dancing and singing for all to enjoy. And of course Los Barbies made their appearance with their fun and crazy costumes “Coronavirus” made it to carnival and Dr, Tusa was present to help them out.

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Belmopan. February 21, 2020. Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Wilfred Elrington represented Belize at the 31st Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community held in Barbados on February 18-19, 2020. CARICOM Heads of Government reviewed the state of play of the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. In that context they exchanged views with regional private sector representatives on the opportunities and challenges for business and investment in the region.

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Carnaval in San Pedro officially kicked off on Saturday, February 22, 2020 with a Carnaval Fiesta Block Party at the Central Park. Spectators at the Central Park were entertained by dances performed by the San Pedro Dance Academy and Titans Mas Band. There were food booths with lots to eat and drink and bouncy houses for the children to enjoy.

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*COVID-19 UPDATE*As a follow up to the training that two officers received in Mexico City, an in-house training is currently ongoing at our Central Medical Laboratory. Parallel to this, the Belize Ministry of Health can confirm that they now have the capacity to do initial screening for COVID-19 as they now have primers and probes to test in country. The tests will be carried out on potential/suspect cases following specific screening purposes.

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Castillo’s Hardware celebrated a great milestone in the town of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, On Febraury 19, 2000, Castillo’s Hardware opened its doors to the Wednesday, February 19, 2020 they celebrated their BIG 20th Anniversary. Mr. and Mrs. Alfonso Castillo could not think of anything better than to celebrate along with the community that they hold dear at heart. They decided to give away $20,000 to their loyal customers by having a raffle of 20 cash prizes of $1,000  to 20 lucky winners.

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The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) of the European Union released the results of its recently concluded meeting held in Brussels on February 18, 2020. The Government of Belize has been informed that the recent amendments to both the Income and Business Tax Act and Tax Administrative and Procedure Act on December 23rd have been positively assessed and the ECOFIN Council has agreed to remove Belize from the EU list of harmful preferential tax regimes (Annex II).

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