Dr James Knight Urges Extreme Caution During Long Holiday Weekend

happy weekend written on a tropical beach

 There is a significantly increased risk of community spread of Covid-19 at the moment, but not because of the tourist industry. The increased risk comes as a result of Antiguans and Barbudans arriving from the USA in recent days, for what would normally have been the carnival season.

The tourists come to stay at accommodations which have been certified as bio-safe, and they are subject to a certain level of monitoring and control. The accommodations have protocols to follow, and the management of these establishments have a responsibility to ensure that their guests follow protocols also.

On the other hand, returning nationals are mainly in self-quarantine, at residences which they describe to Health authorities, but which may not be inspected, because it would be very difficult to carry out such inspections. It is also impossible to monitor the behavior of these persons.

Remember, that workers in the USA must set their vacation time at the beginning of each year, and changing is not an option after that, unless by exchange. These people would have already planned their usual vacation time to coincide with our carnival.

That being the case, they have come home hoping to socialize,  lime, or to ‘hang out’, as the saying goes,  and have some fun. They really have no desire to be in quarantine. As a matter of fact, some are arguing that the negative Covid-19 test which they did within seven days of coming, should make them free to do as they please. Therein lies the danger.

It is necessary therefore that relatives and friends of visiting nationals insist that they practice the quarantine and observe all the safety protocols established in the country.  They are not to be roaming, as some have been seen doing, even without masks. That carefree behavior is putting everyone at risk. This is not the usual carnival time.  This is Covid time.

In view of this increased risk of community spread, the public is advised once more not to be complacent.  Wear your mask properly when around others in public, practice good hand hygiene by frequent washing or sanitizing and do physical distancing.  Wash or sanitize your mask. Sanitize your cellular phone, keys, etc.