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A tractor hauls loads of sugar cane in Belize. (File photo)

Belize warns against travel to some countries amid coronavirus spread

A tractor hauls loads of sugar cane in Belize. (File photo)

Amid the spread of the coronavirus across Asia and parts of Europe, the Belize government yesterday issued an advisory against non-essential travel to several territories in that region.

A medical staff works in the negative-pressure isolation ward in Jinyintan Hospital, designated for critical COVID-19 patients, in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province.

The advisory was issued for travel to China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Iran, Italy and Japan as the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 82,000 people across more countries, continues to stump authorities trying to stem its spread.

“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.

People wearing masks walk at Hong Kong Station at Central district of Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, January 29, 2020.

Belize said it continues to monitor the deadly novel coronavirus which has killed more than 2,700 people.

“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 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.

While primarily impacting Asian countries, particularly China, where the virus originated, it has taken on global implications having spread to more than 40 countries in two months.

Brazil recently confirmed the first case of the coronavirus in Latin America and the United States yesterday announced its first possible case of community spread, a patient who has no known exposure to the virus through travel or contact with an infected person. It marks the first case of unknown origin in the United States.

Belize 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.

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