Antigua cancels all holiday fetes over Omicron fears


The Antigua and Barbuda government says there will be no fetes allowed in the country during the Christmas holidays amid fears of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Health Minister, Molwyn Joseph, speaking on the state-owned ABS television said the risk profile would be significantly elevated from having an event with 300 patrons contemporaneous with the removal of the state of emergency (SOE) and curfew as of Friday this week.

“The suspension of the state of emergency on the 24th at 12.01 am (local time) is a game changer. That would represent the first time in about almost two years that we would be managing COVID without the state of emergency.

“I support the lifting of the state of emergency….but this is what happens. When the government removed the state of emergency it sort of put down a tool that was used for several months…effectively to control the movement of people in the country and to some extent socialisation“

The Health Minister said by taking the decision to lift the SOE and the daily curfew, the onus now is on the individual to adhere to every protocol, such as wearing masks, social distancing and washing wands in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.

Sir Molywn said while the situation continues to be reviewed, fetes are being put on hold “for the time being,” and that the Gaston Browne government continues to monitor the emerging situation regarding the Omicron variant, the fifth variant of concern which spreads over five times faster than the Delta variant.

He acknowledged that the government had earlier given approval for fetes to be held with patrons not exceeding 300 and being fully vaccinated, but told television viewers that there had been a reverse in that policy.

“No longer the case,” he said with regards to the initial policy, adding “because of the Omicron. No fetes as far as I know, there are no fetes, simply because with the elimination, so to speak of the curfew as well as the state of emergency and you have large fetes that go on all night, all morning.

“You quadruple your risk. It is about numbers,” the Health Minister said, adding “last week we made a decision that for the time being and we are going to be looking at situation, we have to review the issue of the Omicron in the particular every week  as a Cabinet.

“If you suspend for instance and which we have no longer any curfew because the state of emergency has been removed and you have fetes of 800 people going all night, all morning, knowing that omicron is more than likely here what are we asking for?,” he added.

Sir Molwyn said he hopes the fete promoters would understand the situation going forward and agreed with a statement made by the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for people to cancel some of their holiday plans to protect public health, as the Omicron variant spreads globally.

“An event cancelled is better than a life cancelled,” said the WHO official, adding that “difficult decisions” must be made”.

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  1. Good decision. The lifting of the curfew should also be reversed.

    Omicron is serious, and the vaccines do not protect against infection. It is exploding all of the world. The worst of the pandemic may be yet to come.

    The government needs to reinstate the quarantine upon arrival for all. The vaccinated are probably almost as likely to be infected as the unvaccinated. This should be done immediately.

  2. I am so happy that all fetes have been canceled. My main concern is for the young people who were looking towards this holiday season feting. All this drinking of alcohol and smoking marijuana (weed) would cause a lot of people to drop their guard by not wearing their masks, not sanitizing their hands regularly, and social distancing. Once the alcohol and marijuana get into their system who knows what destruction this Omicron virus might become. People of Antigua and Barbuda please mask up, sanitize, social distance, and if you wish, get vaccinated. Please stay safe everyone during the Holidays Season. The life we save would be our own and our loved ones.

      • Most of the young people smoke their weed mixed with tobacco (high-leave) and other substances, and then another mixture of alcohol. That is a combination of disasters. I have no problem they just smoking the weed or marijuana alone but mixing it with other substances is destruction. As I said if they wish to get vaccinated they can. I agree that this virus has brought us to our knees. The Bible in Matthew 24:7 reminds us that there will be pestilence time (famine, wars, and rumors of wars) just like the day of Noah and that is what we are experiencing.

  3. Great decision . We want everyone in Antigua to be safe and get through this pandemic . Hope to be there in the spring or early fall.

  4. JR’s and the bar in Billy’s supermarket parking lot need to be cautioned also . They are both super spreader events. You only need to check their respective parking lots on a Friday night.

    • they canceled all fetes but left bars open. Bars which host parties and events. It makes no sense, these places will have the same effect.

  5. Saw it coming. Hallelujah. This time we are to get very serious in prayer and scream out to the Most High Yah, I keep saying but no one is listening, the ark door is slowly closing, Repent now. The thoughts of the wicked is to lock us down again. Big people should know how to control themselves.

  6. The fetes may have been cancelled, however, our borders are still open to UK, USA and worldwide tourism, where Omicron is still RAMPANT in these countries – COULD THERE BE TROUBLESOME TIMES AHEAD FOR US AGAIN?

  7. Why don’t you swing down sweet chariot? Stop and let me ride. Swing down chariot, stop and let me ride. Rock me, Lord, rock me Lord Calm and easy, I’ve got a home on the other side.
    Well, Ezekiel went down in the middle of a field. Thought he heard the rumblin’ of the chariot wheel. Not so particular ’bout the chariot wheel, Just wanted to see how a chariot feels.

  8. Reading the comments have me in total dismay, for a disease that has a fatality rate of one percentage, and with all the different vaccines and therapeutic treatments available, we are still hiding from a virus, I am scared to think about what we would we would be commanded to do if the virus was more fatal than the one percentage.

  9. Molwyn Joseph:
    Did you and Cabinet cancel all Cruise Ships coming into Antigua? Those Passengers even though Vaccinated could still spread Delta and Omicron Variants in Antigua.Why are you keeping the locals under your feet.While all others could visit Antigua and walk around, go here,go there,without any barriers at all.That is rather very unfair in my opinion.Let all going to the fetes in Antigua be either Vaccinated and or show a negative PCR Test,let common sense prevail.Then again,common sense in Antigua is so common anymore.

  10. I wonder if they will have schools to reopen after the teachers get their boosters ? And also for everyone else that is running like a headless chicken to a camp that can’t offer you some sort of hope apart from the digging you with something that is not helping but creating more havoc. The amount of people I hear crying for headaches after weeks and months of taking this thing . People look up for the son of Elohim will be returning any day, hour, second, minutes. Repent .

  11. This decision is an answer to prayer. Maybe now we can put the correct emphasis on the REASON for the SEASON…His name is JESUS!!!!

  12. Gird your loins folks, the #war is just heating up. You can expect at least two more years of constant shelling/bombardment by these viruses(biological weapons of war).

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