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Sports Minister: Country not prepared to manage process of allowing unvaccinated fans into venues

By Neto Baptiste

Allowing unvaccinated fans into controlled sporting events and matches is not on the cards for the immediate and or near future here in Antigua and Barbuda.

This is according to Minister of Sports Daryll Matthew, who said the country’s health authorities are not yet at a place where they would be able to properly manage a process where both vaccinated and unvaccinated fans are being granted access to the same venue at the same time.

The minister was, at the time, responding to suggestions that the country could adopt a practice now common in places like Europe and the US where spectators are separated into vaccinated and unvaccinated and are allowed to occupy opposite sides of the stadium.

“And I’ve seen that but we’re not at the point where we believe we can comfortably and properly administer that and so in the abundance of caution we are insisting that only fully vaccinated fans be allowed to attend. If you’ve had one shot then you are not fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated means having both shots and two weeks after your second shot,” he said. 

The question of fans in stadium was raised following recent confirmation that Antigua will host West Indies Women and Pakistan Women in senior team and A Team fixtures.

Matthew said that just as fully vaccinated fans were allowed to enter the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground for Antigua and Barbuda’s FIFA World Cup Group A qualifier against Grenada on June 4, the same will apply for matches in the pending tour.

“You would recall when we had the football, World Cup Qualifier, a few weeks ago that we did allow vaccinated fans to enter. There was West Indies cricket in St Lucia and now in Grenada and they have allowed fully vaccinated fans to enter and so it stands to reason that given we are at a particular level of confidence that we accurately and properly administer fully vaccinated fans entering into these facilities as spectators, it stands to reason that it’s something we will continue,” he said.

The senior teams will clash in three T20 Internationals and five One Day Internationals (ODIs) while the A teams will play three T20Is and as many ODIs. All matches will be played in Antigua with the first T20 slated for June 30 at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.

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