Here on Ambergris Caye, some of us are watching with bated breath as the world still tries to find some balance. I recently saw on BBC News – Wuhan: Chinese city to test entire population after virus resurfaces. My mom also told me that given the rise of the Delta variant, and their rising case numbers, the USA is not going to be stopping any existing international travel restrictions for several countries at this time. They extended the closure of land borders for Canada and Mexico to all non-essential travel such as tourism until August 21st.
I know many of you are keeping a watchful eye on Belize and Covid travel. Currently, the country is still on a 9:00 pm curfew. Masks are still required in public. On Ambergris Caye right now we have over 70 active cases (a week ago it was in the 50 range.)
Due to the fast spreading Delta variant, Belize travel entry procedures changed on August 9th regardless of vaccination status. All travelers over age 5, entering through the International Airport, must provide a negative PCR Covid 19 test administered 96 h in advance, or an approved rapid test result, no more than 48 hours prior to your trip. Tests for $50 USD are available at the airport. Crossing by land borders is a different procedure and onsite rapid testing by the Ministry of Health and Wellness is required. See the U.S. Embassy Belize website for more details. Belize Tourism Boards health and safety, and land border crossing pages both provide useful procedures information.
The unwanted recently happened in my world, last week I turned up on someone’s contact tracing list by being at a restaurant where two people had identified as positive not long after.
So off I went to the flu clinic last Friday morning to get tested. On my way, the Town Council sargasso clean-up crew was out and bulldozing truckloads full.
I was grateful to have someone willing to drive me to the flu clinic. It’s about a 40-minute walk from my house and while I felt fine, I did not want to be in a cab due to the nature of where I was going.
Getting closer to my Pearl St. destination, although I knew the building that was donated for it, I had never been to that location before.
Destination in sight, I would have much preferred going to a market day which is what this building used to host when it was across from Banyan Bay. Before that, it was on the beach and used by the San Pedro Sailing Club.
To be honest I was a bit nervous about getting a swab jabbed towards my brain.
The right door was the intake room where they took my info and weight. I guessed myself within one pound, my guess was 130 – reality 129.
After that, a short wait outside under a tent before getting called to the room on the left to get both a rapid and a PCR test.
Thankfully the 3 swabs, one on either nostril, and my throat swab were not bad at all. Even more thankful that my rapid test was negative. They were very professional and friendly during the whole process. I was told to lay low and wait for my PCR test results, which thankfully I found out was also negative.
After my Covid tests, I got a bit of a wake-up call to be even more careful. I learned that someone on the island who was healthy and fully vaccinated (Pfizer) and does not live near San Pedro town or socialize a lot right now came down with a very strong case of Covid. Symptoms were a fever of over 101 for 5 days, extreme weakness, headache, congestion, loss of smell and taste. That came as a result of the person’s partner spending 90 minutes talking with a traveler at a 12-foot distance close to home. The partner (also a healthy person) was sick for one day and the person who transmitted it had no symptoms.
Outdoor testing booth in the yard.
In closing, I have to say it makes me feel uncomfortable that some people are still hugging and shaking hands while out socializing at bars, regardless of their vaccination status. Stay safe everyone and please consider asking people before you hug or try to shake hands with them. It shows you care about their health and your own.