Mandatory vaccination policy for incoming travellers to remain in effect for now

V.C. Bird International Airport. (File photo)
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The mandatory vaccination policy for all arriving passengers into Antigua and Barbuda will remain in effect for the time being.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced such over the weekend, noting that he had consulted with several players within the tourism industry and the Ministry of Health who were not in favour of relaxing the rule.

The government had been looking to lift the policy to facilitate further ease in travel. The move would have allowed people to enter the country with just a negative PCR or approved rapid antigen test, no more than four days old.

Cabinet said last Thursday the proposal was to be postponed while additional data was gathered.

“I am not even sure if it will be reconsidered. There is no urgency; most stakeholders seem to be happy with the vaccination policy,” PM Browne said.

“Our hoteliers have said they are very comfortable with that policy as it has provided a level of security for their guests and they do not wish to open up to unvaccinated guests at this point.”

Previously Browne had said the government was to move away from legislating vaccines to a position of personal responsibility, with people required to manage their risk of Covid-19 by taking precautions to safeguard their health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently recommended countries lift or ease Covid-related travel restrictions saying they exacerbated economic and social stress while doing little to curb infection rates.

While some members of the public had been looking forward to the relaxation of the policy, local hoteliers insisted they would still require guests to be jabbed.

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