By Latrishka Thomas
While Antigua is seeing a rise in Covid-19 infections with there now being more than 200 active cases according to the latest dashboard, Barbuda presently only has three.
And officials there are hoping to prevent a spike in cases on the sister isle – which has already achieved herd immunity – even as they prepare for the return of Caribana early next month.
After a two-year hiatus, the Caribana Festival is back on and will run from June 3 through to June 6.
Barbuda’s resident doctor Jeremy Deazle says that the planning team are working to find the safest ways to hold the four-day event.
“We are in a new era where we are learning to live in a time where Covid is still prevalent. However, we are still putting plans and protocols in place to mitigate unnecessary rises in cases. So definitely it is a big part of our planning.
“The economy needs to be revived, and at the same time we need to use all the necessary methods to keep from an unnecessary rise of Covid,” he said.
During the festival, the ‘Island Escape’ ferry is offering a special round trip fare of EC$160 to Antiguans wishing to go over and partake in the fun.
Deazle told Observer that, noting the current rise in cases in Antigua and anticipating that many will visit the island for Caribana, participants should abide by all safety protocols.
“So, we’ve seen one or two spikes in Covid cases in Antigua. It’s not at an all-time high like what we have seen before, but the best thing we have on our side is that we have a vast amount of our population that are vaccinated so that goes a very long way.
“We just encourage persons to do their part, and as we continue to plan for these events according to the protocols where Covid is concerned…we encourage persons to uphold these protocols,” he urged.
The Barbuda Caribana festival consists of an opening ceremony and kids’ pageant called Little Mr and Miss Barbuda on June 3, a fishing tournament and beach bash on the second day, horse race and calypso melting pot on June 5, before culminating with J’ouvert and a food fair.