COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers
Belize travel advice
Latest updates: Safety and security - Removal of advisory on state of emergency in Southside Belize City
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- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
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Belize - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Belize due to high levels of violent crime throughout the country.
Southside Belize City - Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid non-essential travel to Southside Belize City, south of the Haulover Creek River, due to gang and drug-related violence, including murders and shootings.
Safety and security
Southside Belize City
Gang violence is a significant concern in Belize, especially in Southside Belize City. Gang members often use weapons to resolve disputes. Clashes occur frequently between gangs to gain control over territories for illegal activities.
Police capacity to respond to violent incidents is limited, and many crimes remain unsolved.
Tourists are not usually targeted, but you could find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Violent crime is also a major concern elsewhere in the country, including in Belmopan. Belize has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world.
Drug and human trafficking, organized crime and street gang activity is prevalent. Violent incidents are frequent, including:
- armed robberies
- home invasions
- sexual assaults
There has been an increase in the number of violent incidents against foreign national residents, including home break-ins and physical assaults.
Border areas often see higher criminal activity and violence. Criminals are active around the border with Guatemala, close to tourist sites such as the Mayan ruins at Caracol.
To avoid becoming the victim of a crime:
- remain aware of your surroundings at all times
- avoid travelling after dark
- maintain a charge in your cellphone
- if you are threatened, hand over your cash and valuables without resistance
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs. Criminals may target tourists, including at resorts. They often operate in groups and sometimes target individuals travelling alone.
- Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- Avoid walking alone
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash
- Be suspicious of strangers approaching you or of recent acquaintances
- Avoid accepting rides or similar invitations
- Avoid showing signs of affluence
Belize faces unresolved territorial disputes with:
- Guatemala regarding the land border
- Honduras regarding the Sapodilla Cays
When crossing borders by road:
- exercise caution
- only use official border crossings
- avoid travelling at night
Credit card and ATM fraud occurs frequently, especially in San Pedro. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:
- pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
- use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
Spiked food and drinks
Snacks, beverages, gum and cigarettes may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
- Be wary of accepting these items from new acquaintances
- Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse. Cases of sexual assault, including against foreigners, occur.
- Avoid unlit alleys and isolated areas
- Avoid unsupervised beaches
- Don’t hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers
LGBTQ2 travellers have experienced harassment and verbal or physical abuse.
Avoid public displays of affection.
Demonstrations and large gatherings may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Coastal waters can be dangerous. Riptides are common.
Rescue services may not be consistent with international standards. Not all beaches have lifeguards or warning flags.
- Only undertake scuba diving and other water activities with a well-established company
- Don’t swim alone, after hours or outside marked areas
- Consult residents and tour operators for information on possible hazards and safe swimming areas
- Monitor weather warnings
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
Outdoor activities, such as snorkelling, diving, zip-lining, canopy touring, hiking, mountain biking and other adventure activities can be dangerous if unprepared. Trails are not always marked, and weather conditions can change rapidly, even in the summer.
If you intend to practice adventure tourism:
- never do so alone, and don’t part with your expedition companions
- obtain detailed information on your activity and on the environment in which you will be before setting out
- buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
- avoid venturing off marked trails
- ensure that you’re adequately equipped and bring sufficient water
- stay informed of weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- refrain from using equipment if you have doubts on the safety
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary
Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country. Accidents are common.
Besides George Price and Philip Goldson highways, most roads are unpaved. Bridges often face severe flooding after a storm. Driving conditions may be hazardous, especially during the rainy season, due to:
- inadequate lighting
- narrow or unpaved roads
- lack of guardrails
- lack of traffic signs
- roaming livestock
Drivers don’t respect traffic laws. They may be reckless.
There are many bicycles in urban areas. Most of the time, cyclists don’t respect traffic laws either. They contribute to the chaotic situation by posing further traffic hazards.
There is no emergency road assistance. Service stations are scarce, and they are often closed for holidays.
If driving in Belize:
- familiarize yourself with your route before starting the trip
- avoid travelling after dark, especially on rural roads
- keep your windows and doors locked at all times
- keep your belongings out of reach and sight
- never leave belongings unattended in a vehicle, even in the trunk
- don’t stop to change a flat tire in an isolated area and be aware of strangers offering their help
- don’t stop to offer road-side assistance to others
- inquire about insurance coverage options for roadside assistance when renting a car
- always keep your gas tank full when in remote areas
- advise a relative of your anticipated itinerary and route
Public buses are not commonly used in Belize. Bus services are available to travel between cities but are not reliable. Vehicles lack maintenance and safety equipment.
Avoid travelling by bus.
Taxis are not safe. You should refrain from using them.
Registered taxis are identifiable by their green licence plates. Private vehicles have white licence plates. Both may not have a meter.
Popular ride-sharing apps are not available in Belize.
If you must use a taxi:
- never board taxis at taxi stands or flag taxis on the street
- note the driver’s name and plate number
- never share a taxi with strangers
- negotiate the fare before getting in the vehicle
Water taxis are the main way to travel between the cayes, the Belize Barrier Reef and the mainland.
If you choose to travel by ferry:
- make sure the vessel you are boarding is carrying appropriate safety equipment
- make sure that life jackets are always provided for all passengers and are accessible
- avoid boarding vessels that appear overloaded or unseaworthy
- verify the safety standards of ferries with your tour operator
- ensure your belongings are properly closed and locked
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Belizean authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Belize.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 30 days
Work visa: required
Student visa: required
Length of stay
If you intend to stay longer than 30 days in Belize, you must apply for a visa from immigration authorities. Immigration offices are in major towns and cities.
If you overstay the 30-day period without the required visa, you may be fined, detained or deported.
Other entry requirements
Customs officials may ask you to show them:
- a return or onward ticket
- proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay
Children and travel
Children traveling alone or with only one parent may have to provide:
- a notarized consent letter confirming that the child has permission to travel
- proof of parentage, such as a birth certificate showing the names of the parents
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary.
There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.
Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.
Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus. Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
In this destination, rabies is commonly carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.
If you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. In this destination, rabies treatment may be limited or may not be available, therefore you may need to return to Canada for treatment.
Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals).
Safe food and water precautions
Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
- Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
- Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs.
Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insect bite prevention
Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
- Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
- Minimize exposure to insects
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed
To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.
Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.
There is a risk of chikungunya in this country. The risk may vary between regions of a country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- In this country, dengue is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.
Zika virus is a risk in this country.
Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.
Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should visit a health care professional before travelling to discuss the potential risks of travelling to this country. Pregnant women may choose to avoid or postpone travel to this country.
- Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
- If you are pregnant, always use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact with anyone who has travelled to this country for the duration of your pregnancy.
- Women: Wait 2 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy. If your male partner travelled with you, wait 3 months after travel or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer).
- Men: Wait 3 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy.
For more travel recommendations, see the travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) is a risk in this country. It is caused by a parasite spread by infected triatomine bugs. The infection can be inactive for decades, but humans can eventually develop complications causing disability and even death.
Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from triatomine bugs, which are active at night, by using mosquito nets if staying in poorly-constructed housing. There is no vaccine available for Chagas disease.
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.
Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.
Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:
- washing your hands often
- avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
- avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.
Medical services and facilities
Good health care is very limited in availability.
Medical facilities are underequipped. They may lack of medical supplies and adequately trained professionals. Private hospitals may be better equipped and provide better health care. They are mostly located in Belize City. There are none in rural areas.
Services remain available at low cost. Hospitals and doctors may expect immediate cash payment.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Some prescription medications may not be available in Belize.
If you take prescription medication, you’re responsible for determining its legality in the country.
- Bring enough of your medication with you
- Always keep your medication in the original container
- Pack your medication in your carry-on luggage
- Carry a paper and an electronic copy of your prescriptions
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Transfer to a Canadian prison
Canada and Belize accede the Inter-American Convention on Serving Criminal Sentences abroad. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Belize to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Belizean authorities. This process can take a long time, and there is no guarantee that the transfer will be approved by either or both sides.
The legal system is cumbersome and not always transparent. If you are arrested in Belize, even for a minor incident, you should expect lengthy delays to resolve your case and you may not be allowed to leave the country.
Belizean authorities may apply the death penalty for the offence of murder.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences or heavy fines.
Belize is a transit point for illegal drugs between South and North America.
- Pack your own luggage and monitor it closely at all times
- Never transport other people’s packages, bags or suitcases
The possession of firearms and ammunition is strictly regulated.
You can face heavy fines and jail time if you are found in possession of an unlicensed firearm or ammunition, especially for repeat offenses.
The possession of pre-Columbian archaeological and Colonial-period artifacts is strictly regulated.
You must obtain a permit to possess pre-Columbian archaeological and Colonial-period artifacts.
Plants, and animal products
Belize is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
You must have a permit to collect, possess or export:
- certain plants
- plant and animal products
Disputes related to property acquisition or other investments are costly and take time to resolve.
If you plan to buy property, or making other investments in Belize:
- seek legal advice in Canada and in Belize before making commitments
- choose your own lawyer
- avoid hiring a lawyer recommended by a seller
Belizean law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely socially accepted.
2SLGBTQI+ travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Belize.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Belize.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Belize, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Belize.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Belize, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Belizean court.
If you are in this situation:
- act as quickly as you can
- contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Belize to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
Authorities may request to see your ID. Belizean police won’t issue a police report without a digital copy or a photocopy of your passport
- Carry valid identification at all times
- Keep a photocopy of your passport in case it’s lost or seized
- Keep a digital copy of your ID and travel documents
Coral reef is safeguarded by Belizean legislation. Damage to the reef is considered a criminal offense. Penalties are severe, from heavy fine to jail time.
If you are boating in Belizean waters:
- navigate with caution
- avoid getting too close to the reef
- ensure you have a good understanding of local rules and regulations
You can drive in Belize with your valid Canadian driver’s licence for up to 3 months.
You should carry an international driving permit.
The currency in Belize is the Belizean dollar (BZD).
U.S. dollars are widely accepted but cash advances may be difficult to obtain. Sometimes prices are provided in USD. Change for payments in USD is frequently given in BZD.
Credit cards are usually accepted in large cities. ATMs may not be available in rural areas.
Currency exchanges or purchases on black market are punishable by law.
- Confirm if a price is in USD or BZD before buying
- Bring enough U.S. dollars in small bills
- Exchange foreign currency at banks or official exchange offices only
Natural disasters and climate
Hurricanes usually occur from mid-May to the end of November. During this period, even small tropical storms can quickly develop into major hurricanes.
These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services.
If you decide to travel to a coastal area during the hurricane season:
- know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
- be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
- stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
- carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
- follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
- Tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons and monsoons
- Large-scale emergencies abroad
- Active storm tracking and hurricane watches and warnings - United States’ National Hurricane Center
The rainy season extends from May to November.
Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable, and bridges may be damaged. Heavy rains may also contribute to dangerous landslides.
Bush and forest fires are common between December and May, particularly in the Cayo District and in southern districts of Belize. The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.
In case of a major fire:
- stay away from the affected area, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
- follow the instructions of local emergency services personnel
- monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
In case of emergency, dial 911.
Belize City - Honorary consul of Canada
Guatemala City - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Consulate of Canada to Belize, in Belize City, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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