By Carlena Knight
Despite the current spike in Covid cases, the country is unlikely to see the state of emergency reinstalled.
This is according to Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst who not only silenced speculation that another lockdown could be ahead, but also stressed the importance of residents taking greater personal responsibility.
“The government cannot continuously have a state of emergency and curfews in Antigua and Barbuda.
“It just has to go because we have a tourism industry where lots of people are employed in the industry and if the tourists have to get to bed by 11 o’clock and so on many of them will consider their vacation to be unfairly reduced or somehow impacted in a negative way, and so will many Antiguan and Barbudan families who, for one reason or the other, with good reason, wish to be out after 11 at night. It just cannot continue forever,” Hurst said.
“Everybody has to take responsibility for himself or herself. You got to wear your mask, you got to social distance, you got to wash your hands as frequently as possible and you must stay away from large gatherings and large crowds especially when it is not possible to establish the three to six feet distance between you and others,” he told the Observer AM show on Monday.
The call for personal responsibility is one that has been heard on several occasions in recent times. Just last week Education Minister Daryll Matthew told residents to practice greater personal and social responsibility as face-to-face classes could be disrupted once again even as the Ministry of Education continues to monitor the situation.
On Sunday, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness forcefully reiterated that there will be no further lockdown of the country there either, despite the upward swing in Covid cases in the fellow Caribbean nation.
Jamaicans, he said, needed to face living with what is now the endemic phase of the novel coronavirus spread.
The Antiguan and Barbudan government is however defending its position not to allow fetes due to the emergence of the Omicron variant.
On December 20, Health Minister Sir Molwyn Joseph announced that fetes would continue to be prohibited despite Cabinet giving promoters the green light the week prior.
Hurst claimed promoters had disagreed with the Cabinet’s proposition to cap fete attendance at 300 people.
He said large gatherings are the reason why the country is experiencing the latest spike in virus cases.
The latest dashboard from the Ministry of Health revealed there to be 820 active cases.