By Carlena Knight
Despite a steady increase in active Covid-19 cases, Cabinet is still not of the view that protocols that were lifted earlier this year require reinstating.
In fact, Information Minister Melford Nicholas explained at this week’s post-Cabinet press briefing that although there has been an increase in active cases, there is still a low number of persons hospitalised so the healthcare system is still managing the situation well.
The most recent dashboard showed that Antigua and Barbuda had recorded 58 new cases which took the overall number of active cases to 73. There were 68 people in isolation and five were hospitalised.
“We did not look at re-establishing a mask mandate. We did note the numbers but the more important number for us would be the number of hospitalisations; I think they are up to five and we did not have any report to indicate that any of those cases were serious to the point where persons’ lives could be threatened.
“It has always been our aim to be in a position that the health system, the health services can manage these types of infections and what it has demonstrated is that with the equipment and resources that we have put at the disposal of our professionals, the numbers are in a manageable frame at this point in time,” Nicholas explained.
He did, however, say that the government is keeping an eye on cases both at home and in the region, and if the situation worsens it will take action.
“For all intents and purposes, we could wake up tomorrow morning and recognise that there is a new variant and it has certain other features that will cause us to have that concern, but for now, we think that with the prevalence of the Omicron variant and the fact that it is not a deadly strain, the numbers are at a manageable level and we continue to watch and observe.
“Should the numbers tip to a point of any major concern, I am satisfied that the minister of health would not allow us to have a day’s rest before giving us the opportunity to consider implementing some other mandates, but for now we continue to maintain the status quo,” he added.
Around mid-March this year, the government removed mandates to include caps on social gatherings, mask-wearing and proof of vaccination after Covid-19 cases dropped significantly.