Prime Minister Gaston Brown says Antigua & Barbuda’s positive coronavirus cases is now at seven.
He told an address to the nation that after our first confirmed case two weeks ago, “two additional cases last week and unfortunately today, four new cases, bringing the total to seven.”
He said to date, the evidence is, all but one of the cases were imported, to include a returning national who contracted it from abroad.
All seven individuals are now in isolation and the necessary contact tracing is being done.
Browne told the nation that “as our COVID numbers increase, tracking every person with whom each of them was in contact, is close to impossible.
“That is why, throughout the world, all non-essential operations are closed, and personnel are working from home, where their jobs make that possible.”
The prime minister also defended his government’s decision to close the airport.
“We have tried, for as long, as we could to keep our borders opened, because we are acutely aware that many jobs and family livelihoods depend directly, and indirectly on tourism.
We instituted measures at the ports of entry to screen passengers for COVID-19 and we imposed measures to quarantine those persons with COVID type symptoms and isolated those who were detected as infected.”
He said given this reality, of the elevation in the spread of COVID, including one known community transmission; “we have decided to close our borders, effective from midnight tonight, to all international flights from North America & Europe, where the virus is spiraling out of control.
The only exceptions to this closure are LIAT and other sub-regional flights, which now are only moving between limited places within the region; and to private aircraft and cargo planes under a strict regime of health investigation and quarantine.
Given the highly contagious nature of the virus, and the pattern elsewhere in the world, I expect that we will experience further community spread and contagion. That too is inescapable.”