Amid spiraling active Covid-19 cases, Antigua and Barbuda could lose its prized status on the UK’s green travel list this week.
Britain is the twin island nation’s second biggest tourism source market after the United States but analysis just released by London-based travel consultancy The PC Agency, says the country is among several destinations in the region likely to return to the amber list this week. Others include Anguilla and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Resident British Commissioner to Antigua and Barbuda, Lindsy Thompson explained that for now, the revision is “speculation at this stage.
“The joint bio secure centre, the organization in the UK that’s responsible for gathering all this quantitative and qualitative data haven’t sent its recommendation to Ministers yet and a decision hasn’t been made”, she said.
To come to a decision, which is ultimately up to the UK Ministers, Thompson told Observer that the centre considers a plethora of data to include transmission rates, vaccination rates, and the variants present in each country.
She believes however that the likely impact on tourism, if the country moves from green to amber status, will be low.
Britain is due to announce its latest revisions to its so-called traffic light system – which ranks countries across the world according to their perceived coronavirus risk.
Towards the end of this week, the data for 250 countries will be assessed and a decision will be made.
Antigua and Barbuda’s inclusion on the green list this June was credited with a leap in tourist bookings.
Industry officials have cited record visitor arrivals in recent weeks – traditionally a slow time of year – with occupancy rates topping a staggering 90 percent.
Inclusion on the green list means there is no need to self-isolate or quarantine upon returning home although travelers do need to take a PCR test on day two.
Rules for amber list countries mandate unvaccinated travelers to self-isolate for 10 days and take PCR tests on days two and eight. However, those who are fully vaccinated can swerve the self-isolation.
The red list has the most stringent rules of all – forcing travelers returning from those countries to stay in a quarantine hotel for at least 10 days at their own expense.
The experts think a number of Caribbean countries could also be at risk of moving to the red list – they include Jamaica, St Lucia and Dominica.
The latest dashboard from the ministry of health – released on Friday – showed Antigua and Barbuda to currently have 148 active Covid cases.