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Antigua and Barbuda has confirmed two more cases of the coronavirus, bringing the country’s total to nine.

The Ministry of Health announced yesterday that the nine samples recently sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) had returned two positive results.

Both new confirmed cases are females.

“One female flew into the island from New York City, United States. She was quarantined upon arrival and exhibited symptoms that prompted her to be tested. She remains in isolation and recovering well,” a press release stated.

“The second female was a yacht worker. She is also in isolation and doing well. Both confirmed cases are experiencing mild symptoms.”

The ministry said it was engaging in “aggressive contact tracing, in an effort to ascertain and mitigate further spread of the virus”.

It advised the public that “if you believe you are exhibiting symptoms of the virus or have been exposed to the virus, please contact the Covid-19 Hotline at 462-6843, email [email protected] or contact your private health provider via phone.

“Do not leave your house. Do not take public transportation. Please continue to adhere to the state of emergency guidelines,” the release added.

On Tuesday, the government announced that it was taking draconian action to mitigate against the spread of the virus, noting that some people had blatantly disregarded public health measures put in place.

And yesterday, the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) issued several guidelines to clarify grey areas.

It confirmed only essential personnel – and those authorised to do so – can move freely on the streets. That includes police and security personnel, health workers, and immigration and port workers, among others.

However, provisions have been made for everyone else to pick up groceries and medication from 7am until 12pm as supermarkets and pharmacies will be open during those hours.

Only two people are allowed in a private vehicle – and anyone using a bus must wear a mask.

Arrangements are in place to enable people who have medical emergencies to seek care. All government-operated community clinics will be open during the day. Medical Benefits pharmacies in Clare Hall, Browne’s Avenue and Nevis Street will operate for drop offs and pick-ups from 8am to 11am.

People with curfew passes should only be engaged in essential business.

Everyone is encouraged to use masks at home, practice social distancing and clean and sanitise their surroundings regularly. Cloth masks should be washed regularly and ironed before reusing.

People are also reminded that social distancing means standing six feet apart and to regularly clean cell phones and other devices as they can easily transmit germs.

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