Foreign Affairs Minister EP Chet Greene is welcoming news that Antigua and Barbuda’s high risk ranking for COVID-19 by the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will be reduced from level 4 to 2 by next week.
A statement issued by the government on Friday stated that the development followed an intervention by Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States, Sir Ronald Sanders, who had written to the CDC and expressed concerns about the Travel Health Notice (THN) and providing additional information about the management of the virus in the twin island nation.
“We will be placed at the level of “moderate” instead of “very high risk”, Minister Greene explained. “This is the same level as Barbados, and a level lower than most countries in the region. It is recognition of our sterling efforts to fight Covid-19.”
Commenting on the matter, Ambassador Sanders said that, drawing on factual information provided by Chief Medical Officer, Dr Rhonda Sealey-Thomas and her team, he immediately engaged CDC’s offices in the US as well as its regional offices in Barbados and Jamaica.
Sir Ronald also emphasised that all CDC offices were extremely helpful and keen to ensure that Antigua and Barbuda would be placed at the correct level. He said he was grateful for their cooperation.
Last week, Greene expressed shock at the CDC’s ranking of Antigua and Barbuda, which placed the country alongside several Caribbean countries within its highest risk assessment by the Atlanta-based CDC.
The CDC has raised the assessment of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas, Haiti, Belize, Bonaire, Guadeloupe, Guyana, St Maarten, Sint Eustatius, Suriname, Sint Martin, Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos Islands from Level Three to Level Four, which is the highest on its risk assessment scale.