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Nationals and residents of Antigua and Barbuda are strongly advised to restrict their travel to countries with significant escalations in the number of persons recently testing positive for Covid-19 to that for essential purposes only.

A release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday stated that the government has updated its travel advisory with immediate effect to ensure the continued safety of travellers and residents, even though VC Bird International Airport is open for international and regional air traffic.

“The Antigua Port Authority is open to cargo vessels, pleasure craft and ferry services which are required to follow all protocols issued by Port Health,” the communiqué said.

“The state continues to carry out a combination of screening, testing, monitoring and other measures to mitigate the risk of importing any new cases of Covid-19 into the country. Additionally, measures have been implemented for the quick detection of any imported cases. This strategy is intended to protect and safeguard the health of both residents and visitors to Antigua and Barbuda.”

It also highlighted the parameters provided by Caricom for the establishment of a regional travel bubble among OECS countries — namely Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Montserrat, Anguilla and British Virgin Islands, together with Barbados.

The bubble is designed to facilitate intra-regional travel of nationals, movement of essential workers, and inter-regional travel of visitors to the region, while ensuring that the necessary health protocols are followed.

The rules require that all passengers over the age of 12 arriving by air – including transiting passengers — must have a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within seven days of their flight.

Passengers arriving from countries within the established travel bubble must have resided there for no less than 14 consecutive days prior to travel.

Those coming for medical treatment and procedures must also show a negative Covid-19 PCR taken within seven days of their flight. They must comply with Ministry of Health’s guidelines for the transfer of patients into Antigua and Barbuda, to include a letter of request for medical transfer from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the originating country to the CMO of Antigua and Barbuda; a medical report detailing the patient’s condition, treatment required and the urgency of the situation; a letter of acceptance from the receiving institution stating that the patient has been accepted for care, together with the name of the physician who will be managing the patient; and the intended address in Antigua and Barbuda, plus the name and telephone number of a contact person if available.

Meanwhile, passengers arriving by sea via private yachts or ferries are subject to quarantine according to guidelines issued by Port Health, except those arriving from countries within the bubble.

All arriving passengers must wear a facemask on disembarkation and in all public areas. Additionally, the wearing of face mask in public spaces is mandatory throughout Antigua and Barbuda and social distancing protocols must be adhered to.

All arriving passengers must complete a health declaration form and will be subjected to screening and temperature checks by Port Health Authorities upon arrival in Antigua and Barbuda.

Persons travelling from countries within the travel bubble will be exempt from quarantine, however, all other arriving passengers will be monitored for Covid-19 for periods of up to 14 days.

Visitors may be required to undergo testing for Covid-19 on arrival or at the hotel or place of lodging as determined by the health authorities.

Arriving passengers with symptoms of Covid-19 may be isolated as determined by the health authorities, while transiting passengers and crew members who require an overnight stay will be required to proceed to a hotel or government designated facility to await departure.

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