Belize clamps down on travel amid growing coronavirus fears

The Belize government says it is not recommending non-essential travel China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Iran, Italy and Japan, as the country continues to monitor the deadly novel coronavirus (COVID-190 that has killed more than 2,700 people in those countries.

While the majority of the deaths have occurred in China, where the virus was first detected, the authorities here said the virus has now spread to 34 countries outside of mainland China.

It said that while the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US-based Center for Disease Control have reported a decrease in the number of cases in mainland China, particularly in Wuhan Province; “it is anticipated that the number of cases outside of China will continue to rise.

“While the Ministry of Health continues to heighten surveillance at points of entry, the Ministry is aware that new studies are showing that individuals who may not be showing symptoms can be infected and also have an unknown source of infection.”

The government said that health regions have been advised to identify and prepare isolation areas within health facilities even as it acknowledged that “not all cases require in-hospital management.

A medical staff member takes the temperature of a man at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in China on Jan. 25. HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

“Given the dynamics of the COVID-19, the Ministry of Health is not recommending non-essential travel to the following countries: China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Iran, Italy and Japan. Kindly note that this is likely to change as this situation evolves,” the government added.

No Caribbean country has as yet reported any positive case of the virus.