By Makeida Antonio
Government has again pleaded with unvaccinated residents to get the Covid-19 jab prior to the commencement of Antigua’s Carnival next month.
According to last Thursday’s Cabinet notes, Minister of Health Molwyn Joseph believes the country will see an increase in new Covid-19 cases after Carnival in August, as seen following public holiday events for Labour Day and Whit Monday.
The latest dashboard released by the Ministry of Health indicated there are currently 58 active cases, two of whom are in hospital.
During the post-Cabinet press briefing last week, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Lionel Hurst outlined ways in which Covid could be spread during this year’s Carnival celebrations, the first hosting of the country’s staple cultural activity since the beginning of the pandemic.
“We’re sort of gearing up for the likelihood of an increase following the events because where in close contact, people are in places where the sound is loud, and so they must speak into your ear much more loudly than they ordinarily would into your face,” he said.
“These are where the orifices allow for the entry of the virus to take place – your ears, your eyes, your nostrils, and your throat. As a consequence, we know what happens when we have these events that encourage large numbers of people to get together,” Hurst detailed.
He also reiterated Joseph’s plea to the nation’s youth who plan to engage in mas’ and other activities which involve close contact with others. The government is keen to get an additional 7,000 people inoculated to reach its oft-stated target of vaccinating 70 percent of the population.
“We are asking the young folks who are going to participate to get vaccinated. They are not invincible, so go get vaccinated because it is the surest way to ensure that if you inhale or ingest the virus, the likelihood of you becoming hospitalised is greatly reduced and the likelihood of death following is greatly reduced,” Hurst added.
While the government says it believes that the pandemic in Antigua and Barbuda is stabilising as indicated by the most recently published dashboards, Hurst added that those who have underlying conditions due to non-communicable diseases are particularly at risk of experiencing the worst symptoms of Covid-19.