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PAHO official stresses the importance of reducing super spreader events

By Kadeem Joseph

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With the recent alarming increase in Covid-19 cases in Antigua and Barbuda and the rest of the Caribbean, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) is calling for a larger combination of measures to be enacted in order to limit transmission, manage cases and ensure the general control of the Covid-19 pandemic.

PAHO’s Incident Manager for Covid-19 Dr Sylvain Aldighieri said “particular focus should be on prevention and early detection of potential super spreading events”.

Last week, the body warned that nearly 8,000 confirmed new Covid-19 cases have been reported over the last three weeks of September 2021, from Antigua and Barbuda and the other Eastern Caribbean states as well as Barbados — a 52 percent increase from 4,231 cases in the month of August 2021.

The body also noted that in the seven days prior, Antigua and Barbuda was in the top three countries leading the increase in the number of cases, alongside St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Lucia.

PAHO acknowledged that the increase in cases is largely noted in individuals who are unvaccinated (83-95 percent) for Covid-19. The new reported cases in the subregion also showed a proportion of the cases (15-25 percent) to be children under the age of 18, driven by the highly transmissible Delta Variant of Concern.

“I’d like to stress the recommendations by the Pan American Health Organisation that individuals are encouraged to accept Covid-19 vaccination when offered, and strictly practice the preventive measures,” Dr Aldighieri added.

He said that the body also continues to provide test kits and laboratory supplies, oxygen concentrators, in addition to the deployment of emergency medical teams in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Antigua and Barbuda saw record numbers of Covid-19 related deaths for the month of September alone, with hospital officials recently announcing over 30 for the month.

According to the dashboard published by the Ministry of Health, the statistics up to October 1 show that the twin island nation has recorded 3,403 confirmed cases of Covid-19, 2,265 recoveries, and 84 deaths. Currently, there are 1,054 active cases, 48 of whom are hospitalised while 1,006 are in isolation.

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