Antigua and Barbuda to test arriving passengers for COVID-19 variants


Antigua and Barbuda’s government said it would soon begin testing arriving passengers for coronavirus variants.


Cabinet spokesman Melford Nicholas told journalists this would help the country salvage its tourism industry, which the coronavirus pandemic decimated.

He said it would be “an important development to be able to communicate that to our major markets because the British government is actually concerned about the proliferation of other variants across the globe.”


“So, the fact that we are going to be able to develop that capability and to be able to boast that capability will be a fillip to the attractiveness of Antigua as a Tourism destination,” he added.


Nicholas also announced beginning June 1, travelers must take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of boarding their flight to the country.


Soon after arriving, health workers would take another sample from passengers for a second PCR test.


“The reason for this additional layer, inasmuch as we are relaxing considerations for the arrival of persons with the completed vaccine profile, is that there still exists a possibility that there could be variations of the virus that we would want to ensure that we are protecting the home population from any potential invasion,” he said.

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  1. Why are you testing upon arrival when we are required to have a negative PCR test prior to flying

    • It’s is unfair to the people who take the covid test and still vaccine and is still being told they have to be tested again on arrival. What you Gaston Brown need to do is to offer the people of antigua and Barbuda free covid testing instead of trying to force people with all your threats and demand to be vaccinated. You have to start off with the testing .
      You can’t know who is in the country that is infected with covid. Let’s get smart with this and stop all the demands no one want to pressure in to anything.

    pure madness.
    The lab at msjmc does not have the CAPACITY to process the volume of PCR tests from increasing arrivals and certainly not within 48-hours…heck departing travelers currently are not guaranteed their departing pcr test in time to travel.

    WHY NOT USE RAPID ANTIGEN TESTING on fully vaccinated arrivals? Invite a private lab to set up the facility at the airport, and give fully vaccinated people results same day????
    Our major source markets use this test, many of our Caricom nations use this test.

    WHY is the CMO locked into the PCR when science has moved on for fully vaccinated people?
    WHY is Sir Health not advocating for a practical, do-able, low risk approach to arrival tests for fully vaccinated people?

    Min of Tourism Max, will the Tourism Flexibility remain? I.e. all tourists free to go where they please from day one? Will THEY all be tested at airport?!

    + imagine the length of time to conduct all these tests… How you going to ORGANIZE the process for the COMFORT of the passenger? Or will you be like Heathrow and not give a damn?

    Please, let’s have some real world sanity here.

    • And this test is free? My queries here have indicated that most Antiguan citizens are leary of this vaccine and do not want it. All the reasons I have heard have no logical basis. The spreaders are not the fully vaccinated tourists. I have come in contact with maids, bartenders, waiters, vendors, salespeople who do not intend to be vaccinated but serve the tourism industry. This is shocking to me. Carriers may not have symptoms-40% don’t. Masks are only 45% effective according to CDC. So, what is the % possibility that a variant will be carried in by a fully vaccinated traveler?

  3. A kickback is a form of negotiated bribery in which a commission is paid to the bribe-taker in exchange for services rendered. Generally speaking, the remuneration (money, goods, or services handed over) is negotiated ahead of time.

  4. Hon Prime Minister Why did I fully get vaccinated for if I have to pay for a pcr test when I return home. This is just madness. Why treat vaccinated person the same way unvaccinated are treated?

  5. I have a Vaccination Card. It say I am fully Vaccinated. I would take a PCR Test days before coming into Antigua. If it is positive. Then I would not come. Until I take one and the result is negative. So tell me. Why the heck would there be a need to take another test again,when I arrived in Antigua. I swear those Politicians could complicate simple things. They could surely spoil a wet dream.

  6. Our nation is being decimated with politicians who constantly practice creative enrichment schemes and not only give away our lands but steal them from us.

  7. UMMM who is paying for this PCR and who is administering it? It is a very delicate technique and if it is not done properly there can be A LOT of damage to the individual. To say you get on a plane full of people with NEGATIVE tests and most will be fully vaccinated, and have them succumb to this is ASSINIGN. I don’t think there was a thought process involved in this AT ALL besides a way to make a buck and have tourists never want to return.

  8. Sounds like a plan to kill tourism, not protect it.
    Last March I was charged $200 US in Antigua for a PCR Rt test for entry into Canada. Now I have to pay another $200 US on entry plus the local Canadian test 72 hours before arrival, even if I am vaccinated?
    The cost of a vacation has spiralled, not every tourist has a money tree in their garden.
    Why not apply a rapid test to vaccinated arrivals? Somebody is not thinking this through, is this yet another “creative enrichment” scheme?

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