Antigua and Barbuda no longer high-risk for COVID-19

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Foreign Affairs Minister E.P. Chet Greene disclosed that, following intervention by Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States, Sir Ronald Sanders, CDC provided advance information, in writing, last Thursday that the Travel Health Notice (THN) will be reduced from Level 4 to Level 2 on Monday.

 

In welcoming this news, Minister Greene explained: “We will be placed at the level of “moderate” instead of “very high risk”.  He added, “This is the same level as Barbados, and a level lower than most countries in the region.  It is recognition of our sterling efforts to fight COVID-19”.

 

The Minister had acted promptly last Monday when a CDC listing had placed Antigua and Barbuda at Level 4, by working with Ambassador Sanders to engage CDC for what he considered to be an incorrect rating of the country.  Since the beginning of the pandemic the country has had 141 laboratory confirmed cases and 4 deaths.  Currently, it has only 7 active cases, of which just one is new.

 

Commenting on the matter, Ambassador Sanders said that, drawing on factual information provided by Chief Medical Officer, Dr Rhonda Sealey-Thomas and her team, he immediately engaged CDC offices in the U.S. and regional offices in Barbados and Jamaica.  Sir Ronald emphasised that all CDC offices were extremely helpful and keen to ensure that Antigua and Barbuda was placed at the correct level. He said he was grateful for their cooperation.

 

The Minister underscored the benefit of harnessing combined government effort on the ground with swift diplomatic action to “protect the national interest” and decried those who put the nation at risk for narrow and selfish purposes.

Editor’s Note: This press release has been edited to suffocate Mr. Chet Greene’s attack on free and independent media in Antigua & Barbuda.

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42 COMMENTS

  1. Happy that the risk has been reduced. The biggest risk for Antigua however is allowing flights from the US, England and Europe which are on lockdown because of the astronomical level of Covid. Things will be hard but we shouldn’t be allowing in tourists from these countries.

    • The government of Antigua should be protecting Antigua.

      They won’t do that.

      It’s telling that to get the threat level reduced they didn’t improve their policies they just went and begged the CDC to change the rating.

  2. Was made to benefit the rich resort owners

    Because the CDC got it right the first time

    Antigua cannot be the same risk level as Barbados when Barbados tests and quarantines everybody and Antigua does the opposite

  3. Govt’s review of ‘very high risk’ category will not succeed, says US source, since the country’s COVID data is seen as ‘unreliable’

    Can the source be contacted for an updated response?

  4. Sounds like some underhand deal,you are right on point . They are testing people that goes to the hospital for surgeries and people that shows sickness,but not the visitors like Barbados and St.kitts. This ways the numbers will reflect low because they don’t testing in the communities and arriving passengers. God help us!

    • Because I hoped the low rating would prompt officials to follow better policies that would protect Antiguans

      Instead they made no improvements. They just made a deal

      God help us all.

      If they continue on this same course the situation will get completely out of control here and then there will be no hiding a raging pandemic

  5. Sorry, I’m no longer convinced that we’re actually beating this thing. Up until last week I was pretty confident. But now I’ve seen too many young adults coughing and sneezing during this week. So unless there’s some allergen in the air, we’ve probably already lost control of this and just don’t know it yet because it’s spreading via mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic young people. Hope I’m wrong, but if I’m not, it will eventually hit the older population and then there will be no room for doubt. I now have my N95 on standby.

    • I just stay home all the time now.

      We’re in big trouble.

      And this decision just makes it worse.

      Which means more people will suffer and die while TPTB keep pretending everything’s okay.

  6. Give that ambassador a raise. The Prime Minister has the right people in he right place at the right time. The PM is a natural leader.

    • Now we can get more diseased tourists here who won’t be quarantined or tested

      That’s going to work out really well for the people of Antigua

      Give the man a raise

  7. So ANR – from your “Editor’s note,” your implying, that MP Greene statements regarding your coverage, of the announcement last week, of the #Level 4 categorizing of Antigua, Barbuda & REDONDA, was sensational journalism, like the National Enquirer, and must be sensored!?!

    He, Greene and the PM, did take a #Walloping, and it seems like, all was for naught, since, the revised ranking, makes the Browne Administration, looks like ‘geniues’ too, pulling one back on Mia, and the Bajan crew.

    Big dem up, wen tings go right too! A so, everybody else do it.

    Support #268…Kill da #PartyPolitics!

    • The question is why was Antigua listed as “very high risk” in the first place.

      And what was offered to make the American apparently change their mind?

      Things going right would be for the government of Antigua to have implemented good protocols all along instead of just pretending that everything was okay.

      People of Antigua should be concerned because their lives are being put at risk by this government which as uniquely weak and ineffective protocols in place.

      Most places you need a negative COVID test within 72 hours, but Antigua says it’s okay to have one within SEVEN DAYS.

      Most places require testing on arrival and/or quarantining people from high COVID areas like the UK and the US. Antigua doesn’t quarantine these people.

      Most places don’t have laws in place that treat their own people like second class citizens. Not Antigua.

      An example of things moving in the right direction would have been the government taking the high rating seriously and making changes to their protocols. Making improvements and then getting a better rating.

      They didn’t make any improvements. They didnt make any changes. They just made a deal or paid someone off or some other underhanded thing that once again will not protect Antiguan citizens from the thousands of potential COVID carriers that the government lets in every month without restriction.

      • Guy you are chatting rubbish. This idea you have that by simply testing people, the risk is all gone, is rubbish. It helps explain how the US Whitehouse got covid due to this reckless thinking. The experts point out that even with the RT PCR test there can be false results, depending on your viral load at time of testing. We all know many of the rapid tests are not even as accurate as a coin toss. It is the safety protocols like wearing masks/social distancing, washing hands and such that will keep persons covid free not covid tests. Quarantining, Dr Simon and the CMO point out are more effective methods than testing. Watch Germany, US with all the testing they have been doing, yet the numbers are out of control

  8. Is it in the nations interest to have the country overrun with COVID?

    Because that’s where we’re headed if the government continues to let in thousands of people from high COVID areas without testing them or quarantining them.

    • Is it in the countries interest to give persons the wrong notion that testing is all they need to do in order to be safe from covid? Trump tried that and how did it work for him and those closest to him? Check Herman Cain grave site. Our best tools when it come s to covid is masks/social distancing, hand washing. Countries that have depended only on testing have failed.

      • They need to do both to everyone they are letting in

        Antigua is not testing and not quarantining thousands of people who come from high covid areas

        Now you tell me how that’s sensible

  9. In and out the window mayzooo

    Tje full revelation of COVID19

    How did Antigua end up on the list in the first place?

    How was Antigua taken off the list?

    Is this the true story of COVID19 unfolding.

    You can put out any numbers and change them if their is a complaint? 60 000 new infections in a day 2000 new deaths seems like just numbers.

    No science behind the numbers either who they think they fooling.

    They just got caught….

    • My take is we did a bad job in communicating with our partners. The warning sign was there when the CDC placed us in the high risk category over a month ago. Saint Lucia had its officials months ago ensuring that the CDC saw the data it needed. The lesson is communicate better with especially important partners. This was Chhastanet back in August:

      ““Recognizing that the CDC report is but one input that informs the State Department’s travel advisories, we are continuing to engage the relevant authorities, advising and updating them on the protocols that we believe position Saint Lucia as a location where safety is a priority of the Government – for our citizens and theirs”, he concluded.

      • It’s the fact that Antigua does not test or quarantine thousands of people flying in from Miami and UK each month

        They let sick workers in without quarantine

        They require a 7 day prior test when every other country requires 72 hour prior test.

        COVID positive folks can and do get off a place and be at Epicurean within the hour mingling with everyone else.

        The problem is the lack of intelligent protocols

        • Clearly you are wrong based on the US decision to place A&B at category 2. Fact is there are other countries doing the same as A&B. An example is St Lucia its a test for no older than 7 days (level 2).

          • I know that the US listed A&B as category 3 (high risk) and then category 4 (very high risk).

            I know that Barbados has Antigua as a high risk country as well and other islands no longer want Antigua in their “travel bubble.”

            I know that A&B have made no changes to their clearly bad protocols but are now claiming that the US decided to suddenly lower the risk status.

            Seems quite fishy. And is definitely not an indication that A&B is handling the pandemic well.

            I also know that when you compare the COVID numbers from countries with similar geographics and demographics, the numbers that Antigua is putting out do not make sense and are NOT BELIEVABLE.

            I also know that every other country releases much more information about how they are handling the pandemic and where the positive cases are coming from including demographic and location information.

            Antigua has been secretive about all of these things. That does not engender confidence.

            I also know that if the strategy is as it seems, which is to simply underreport/undercount COVID cases and ignore COVID deaths that this strategy is bound to be a massive failure with a lot of suffering and death.

            I know that every Antiguan citizen should be screaming as loudly as they can that this is not acceptable and should be demanding that their government actually protect the citizens.

          • and those people have to quarantine and stay on their resort property

            Antigua is doing none of those things.

            I can’t imagine why any Antiguan citizen would find that acceptable.

            People get off their COVID laden flights from Miami and can immediately mingle with the rest of us without having been tested or quarantined.

            That is a recipe for disaster. How could you defend this?

            Your tune will change if you or one of your family members gets very ill, or God-forbid passes away or needs a lung transplant or some other awful complication of this awful disease.

            I wish Antigua would do what St. Lucia is doing or Jamaica is doing or Barbados is doing or NZ is doing.

            Antigua has the worst protocols. They belong in the very high risk category.

        • What you also seem unaware of is BDS in order to meet that 3 day window is via its partner StageZero Life Sciences utilizing Thermo Fisher test.

          “Cummins noted that people in North America have been experiencing challenges getting back COVID-19 PCR test results within the three days required by Barbados. Over the last few months, the Ministry has been working with StageZero to provide a solution to this challenge. see Barbados partners with lab for quick COVID-19 testing, Barbadostoday, November 14

          Those tests just a few months ago, the FDA issued a warning about their accuracy. They pointed out the tests were providing too many false positives and negative tests (google “Thermo Fisher COVID-19 test flagged for false positive and negative results”) They have since put out an upgrade, however this reminds that we are dealing with products which have not been fully tested, hence have only received FDA emergency use authorization. In essence this is a crap shoot, the key will be to ensure persons stick to the established protocols (mask wearing/ social distancing( hand washing

          • There’s no excuse or justification for the lax and absurd protocols that Antigua is employing.

            Especially so, when we realize they aren’t even following those weak protocols in some cases – “special dispensation”

            They are risking your life and the lives of your family members. And you’re defending these garbage policies because of your political affiliation or job or whatever. That’s sad and absurd.

        • Sir or Madam below are the travel protocols for intl travelers going to SLU (as you can see just like ANU there is no mandatory testing on arrival unless they are symptomatic ):

          MANDATORY ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
          All arrivals (5 years and over) must have a negative result from a PCR test taken no more than 7 days before arrival in Saint Lucia. The test result must be submitted by email before travel to [email protected]. Print and travel with a copy of your test results, the auto response email from the form submission and and the TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION LETTER that you will receive.

          All arrivals 18 years and older must complete:
          1. A Travel Registration form (online – 7 days before travel, Print and travel with a copy of the auto-response email)
          2. A Health Screening Form (download, print and travel with the completed form)

          If your booking is last-minute, (fewer than 7 days prior to travel), fill out the online travel authorisation form as above. The auto-generated confirmation email that you will receive immediately after submission should then be forwarded to [email protected].

          NOTE – SUBMISSION OF THE FORM DOES NOT REQUIRE THE PCR TEST RESULT. THE FORM MUST BE SUBMITTED AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE AND NO LESS THAN 3 DAYS BEFORE TRAVEL

          All arrivals must receive (and travel with a printed copy of) a letter of authorizing travel to Saint Lucia based on:

          Verified reservations at a COVID-19 certified property or
          Confirmed reservation at a state quarantine facility (Returning nationals and residents) or
          Verified arrangements in place to join a boat
          In transit passengers with a same day onward journey do not require travel authorization.

          You must print and travel with the following

          Your travel authorization letter
          The result of your COVID-19 PCR Test
          The auto-response email that you received on submission of the travel authorization form (check your SPAM if you did not receive an email)
          On arrival:

          All arriving passengers must adhere to all protocols relevant to airport
          All arriving passengers will be screened, this will include temperature checks
          All symptomatic passengers will be immediately isolated and tested. If test result is positive for COVID-19 the passenger will be transferred to the Respiratory Hospital for treatment and care at their cost.
          Other passengers will be transferred by certified taxi to approved COVID-19 accommodation or to a government quarantine facility

          • Antigua is not quarantining anyone except some residence.

            Residence who have UK/US passports and live in posh areas are not being quarantined.

            Tourists are not being quarantined.

            COVID-infected guest workers are not being quarantined – “special dispensation”

            Antigua has the most lax standards for tourists. A tourist can get off of a COVID filled plane (not be tested) and head directly to Epicurean or Big Banana or any other place they choose

            Antigua belongs on the high risk list because their lack of intelligent protocols puts everyone at high risk of getting COVID.

            This will not end well.

    • What the long winded ranter does.not state is bds had antigua at low risk, after taking us to high they now have us at moderate risk. Dominica and the rest of the region has us at low risk. As for saint lucia, his assertion of a local test for tourist is false. Just like antigua they are essentially quarantined at a secure bio space. As far as for testing, any level headed person would know the key is not about quantity of testing but quality. Using rapid tests whose accuracy many times is akin to coin toss, is a waste of time

      • Antigua does not quarantine tourists. They can go wherever they want on the island.

        They can rent cars. They can go to any store or any restaurant or any beach. They can hang out on Market street. They can go anywhere. That is not a quarantine.

        Stop lying.

        Tourists are not tested and they are not quarantined.

        St. Lucia does test people from high risk areas like UK, US, etc. and those people are quarantined at their resort.

        Please stop lying.

        How do you or anyone else living on this island benefit from having thousands of people from high COVID areas (who have not been test or quarantined) roaming around the streets and in the stores and restaurants with the rest of us?

        How is that safe? Why are you okay with that?

        I can’t think of another country with such lax protocols. Essentially no requirements for tourists other than a useless (possibly fake) COVID negative certificate from up to SEVEN DAYS earlier.

    • Regarding your wrong idea that tourists in SLU must stay at their hotels, here is what’s stated on their SLU tourism website (see https://www.stlucia.org/en/covid-19/ )

      Can I leave my COVID-Certified accommodation while I am in Saint Lucia?
      A selection of attractions and excursions is available (see below). You may leave the property to participate in one of these tours.

      Atlantic Shores Riding Stables
      Diamond Waterfalls & Botanical Gardens
      Gros Piton Nature Trail
      International Pony Club
      Island ATV St. Lucia
      Lucian Style Experience
      Lushan Country Life
      Pigeon Island National Landmark
      Rainforest Adventures
      Sandy Hoofs St. Lucia
      Splash Island Water Park
      Sulphur Springs Mud Baths

      Guy you really need to stop. Fact is precautions are being taken by both tour operators and locals. Again the protocols mask wearing/social distance, hand washing.

  10. Coming from the same MP who allowed his COVD positive daughter to fly from the UK here to Antigua. Who then walks around looking medical attention.

    This govt only cares about themselves not we the people.

    • You do know that you really come off of as bitter? You well know no such thing as you suggest, happened with the minister knowledge, but watch you do the normal of spout lies

      • When their lives and the lives of their family and friends are put at risk by incompetent and greedy people.

        • You sound like that lady who wanted Solomon to cut the baby in half. She looks at the mother and felt she had too much. This lady allowed bitterness to impact her outlook. Because her child had died, no one else should have one. Clearly your dislike for Chet stems from the fact that his party is in power and the UPP seems destined to forever be in opposition

          • I’m not an Antiguan. I don’t have any personal feelings for any of your politicians other than noting that the ones handling this pandemic are doing an incompetent job.

            Furthermore, they appear to be purposefully hiding information.

            That puts all of us who live in Antigua at risk.

            I don’t want to get COVID. I don’t want to see other people get it either.

            How anyone who lives here could defend letting in thousands of potential disease vectors every month (without quarantining or testing them) is truly baffling.

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