Message to the nation from Governor General Sir Rodney Williams amid coronavirus pandemic

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Citizens and residents of Antigua and Barbuda, your health and safety is our top priority, particularly in the wake of the global spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19. I believe that it is important for all of us to continue to protect ourselves.

This includes staying informed with accurate data and scientific information provided by trusted sources such as the Ministry of Health, our hospitals and information on the official websites of established regional and international organisations such as the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Note, I referenced the official websites since many on social media are creating fake messages under the names of a number of international organisations, to create baseless fear, hysteria and incorrect healthcare practices.

The nation’s authorities have been careful to provide important information on social distancing, adopting a healthy lifestyle to include scaled-up sanitation practices, a healthy diet, adequate rest and exercise and isolation when ill. We must also heed the warnings of health care professionals to identify the signs and symptoms of the coronavirus with a view to contacting the relevant health care providers at the local hotline provided.

Our government has been working with partners around the clock to build on our existing plans to deal with reducing the spread of this virus on the local level. Yes, it is very contagious, but it is also not a danger to the vast majority of the people who do contract it. I am confident that our local authorities will continue constant surveillance efforts and ongoing dialogue with all the stakeholders inclusive of health care experts, infectious disease and public health experts in the region and abroad so that we can make appropriate adjustments along the way.

Ultimate success in overcoming this challenge requires that all citizens and residents play their part in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

These simple precautions will help prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illnesses:

  • Practicing social distancing as announced and as needed.
  • Using alternative methods to shaking hands or embracing others as much as possible.
  • Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, using a clean, single use tissue which should be properly disposed of after use or using the inside of your elbow.
  • Frequent washing of your hands with soap and warm water and using hand sanitisers with the required percentage of alcohol.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are frequently touched such as doorknobs and countertops with household cleaning spray or wipes.
  • Staying at home and calling your health care provider if you have a fever or feel sick.
  • Thinking ahead about how you can care for yourselves and your loved ones if the virus starts to spread within your home or community.

To our business owners, I appeal to you to resist the temptation to overprice your goods and services, which may be in higher demand, while our people seek to overcome the challenges of this new viral illness.  

I close by expressing thanks to all across our public and private sector personnel and organisations who have been doing their part to respond appropriately to the presence of COVID-19.

Citizens and residents of Antigua and Barbuda, we are living in extraordinary times. I encourage us all to be prayerful, watchful and hopeful as we work and learn together to overcome this challenge. God bless us all. God bless Antigua and Barbuda.

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