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By Machela Osagboro

Prime Minister Gaston Browne appealed to Antiguans and Barbudans to continue to be patient as there will be an increase in testing of residents for Covid-19 as of this week.

The total number of persons who have contracted the virus currently stands at 24 with two of those patients in critical care at Mount St John’s Medical Centre.

“I know some people are anxious to see increased testing. Unfortunately, we have had to send samples to CARPHA and we have a limited amount to send on a weekly basis. That is why we have had to follow the protocols that are established by PAHO to determine who gets tested,” said Browne.

Despite the lack of random testing of residents, he assured the public that all the equipment to test people are in place and the training for technicians who will operate the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) equipment will be completed by today.

Browne continued, “we do accept that there are individuals who had exposure to Covid and ordinarily would have been tested if we had the type of domestic facilities in which we could have done our own testing.”

The Prime Minister said practical training for health officials who will deal with Covid-19 patients will finish Thursday.

He said test kits have been on island for the past few weeks and all the necessary equipment is now installed at the new Infectious Disease Centre.

The long-awaited centre at the repurposed Margetson Ward will open this week, Browne said, claiming it is fully-equipped and ready to handle a second wave of the Covid-19 outbreak.

He added that the IDC will be an asset to the country’s health service if there is an outbreak of any other infectious disease in the country.

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