Editor’s update: Belize reported its first known case of COVID-19 on March 23 at 10:00pm, CNN reported.
There are 23 nations spread across the North and South American continents, but only Belize has yet to report a known case of COVID-19.
As of Mar 22 0600 UTC, all 13 nations in continental South America along with 19 of the 20 nations in continental North America have reported coronavirus infections. Several Caribbean nations have yet to report COVID-19 cases, but only Belize remains coronavirus-free on the continent.
One by one, its Latin American neighbors have seen their first cases — beginning with Mexico on Feb 28, Costa Rica on Mar 5, and most recently El Salvador on Mar 18. Meanwhile, the virus has spread through 21 Caribbean islands, including Cuba, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and more.
Although no cases have been confirmed in Belize, the country is preparing for that eventuality. As early as Mar 8, the Саrіbbеаn Рublіc Неаlth Аgеnсу (САRРНА) upgraded Belize’s risk of outbreak to high, Breaking Belize News reported, as the country’s health ministry called infections “more imminent.”
On Mar 13, its prime minister said the country was “preparing for all scenarios” and being guided by lessons from regional and international cases, eTurbo News reported. The country also established a COVID-19 Task Force and a COVID-19 National Oversight Committee, the prime minister said.
According to Al Jazeera, most ports of entry have been closed but its international airport remains open, with some restrictions. The country has banned all travelers visiting China, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, South Korea and Europe in the last 30 days, the Miami Herald reports.