No second lockdown planned, gov’t says

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By Shermain Bique-Charles

[email protected]

Antigua and Barbuda’s government has decided that the country will not move into a second lockdown to curb coronavirus spread, despite a surge in infections.

Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister’s Office Lionel Hurst told Observer yesterday that the matter was discussed during Wednesday’s weekly Cabinet meeting, but said the tough measure is not under consideration at this time.

“The Cabinet is very much aware that a lockdown will cause a lot of pain and as a consequence, that kind of action will be the very last of any actions which can be taken in order to mitigate the spread of Covid-19,” Hurst confirmed.

There had been suggestions on social media that the government was moving towards total closure. Last month, Information Minister Melford Nicholas warned that if cases rose by more than three a day over a seven-day period, a shutdown was on the cards. Since then, the country has confirmed dozens of new cases.

In an attempt to clarify the issue, Hurst recalled that indeed the statement was made, however the government chose to instead implement stricter measures.

“Well, there are greater restrictions. We are closing the schools for a two-week period … But no lockdown. Not now and not anytime in the very near future as we see it,” he said.

The government, according to Hurst, will consider a national lockdown if, “this thing goes out of control like we see it in the other Caribbean countries”.

“However, we can keep that from happening to us,” he added.

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