Gov’t set to end Covid quarantine protocols

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The government looks set to end Covid quarantine measures on arrival into the country, citing that the virus no longer poses a significant threat to the public.

The country achieved some level of herd immunity early this year, after more than 60 percent of the population became vaccinated. 

Information Minister Melford Nicholas told this week’s post-Cabinet press briefing, “When we last met before the break, I had engaged the Minister of Health on this particular issue about getting the public health officials to sign off on a more recent travel advisory I think that was pending.

“The Cabinet has certainly taken the view that we could at that stage have dispensed with the whole issue of quarantining at the airport.

“So, it is a matter that on behalf of the government I will seek to engage the Minister of Health and the public health officials to ensure that this matter is finally put to rest once and for all and all of the stakeholders are clear as to what has happened.

“I think we have reached that level of safety of living with Covid that we know how to deal with it,” Nicholas said.

Antigua and Barbuda’s current travel advisory requires partially vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers with no Covid-19 symptoms to quarantine in their own homes.

Partially vaccinated travellers are required to quarantine for 10 days while unvaccinated passengers are asked to remain in quarantine for 14 days.

In addition, a person who is required to quarantine at a state-appointed facility must pay a fee of up to EC$82 a night.

Arriving passengers who are permitted to quarantine at home or instructed to stay at a government quarantine facility may also be required to wear a monitoring bracelet, according to Antigua’s Quarantine Authority regulations.

So far, health officials have not reported any major surge of Covid-19 after Carnival 2022 celebrations, a good sign the Cabinet said.

“By no means are our public health institutions being overwhelmed with Covid and we are in the position to treat it as a normal passing infection where there are no new strains causing any degree of concern and so wherever persons have been diagnosed with Covid they are treated as a routine matter and it passes through the system.

“There is no need … certainly when the Cabinet last looked at it, for us to continue to have these restrictions in place,” Nicholas added.

The latest dashboard shows a total of 55 active Covid cases, inclusive of three hospitalisations with mild symptoms.

Cabinet reported that this is evidence that boosters are working.

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