Prime Minister Gaston Browne is standing by his position that returning nationals posed “the biggest risk” of COVID-19 spreading at the community level in Antigua and Barbuda.
The country has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the year with the number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic now at 832.
“There are many of them who came back here with their ignorance. Because they have a negative COVID test and they were asymptomatic, they took the position that they did not have COVID,” Browne said Saturday on Pointe FM.
“We had a situation too in which one particular returning national came back here for a funeral and he had exposure to his girlfriend who had COVID, and he knew. He came to the funeral, participated in the funeral and when he went back to the United States he tested positive.
“These are the types of irresponsible behaviours that created the problem that we are in,” the nation’s leader said.
The Prime Minister made clear that he was not trying to shame people but rather to bring attention to the risks posed by returning nationals who failed to adhere to the protocols.
“We’re not trying to shame them, what we’re trying to do is to explain the risk to the population so that people can avoid making those mistakes,” he said.
“Some months ago we had a situation too with a wedding in which about seven members of that party got infected with COVID.
“They were ridiculing me for stating that there was spread as a result of that particular wedding, but again what I was trying to do was to bring to the attention of the people the risks.
“Members of the deceased were literally ridiculing me on social media but it is an inescapable fact that there was spread as well at that funeral. In fact there may have been even one deceased person as a result of that, and I will call her name — Clancia. So those of you who live in point who vex about me calling a spade a spade, too bad.
“People got to be a little more responsible. Not because you are an Antiguan citizens and you live abroad you feel you have the right to just come to the country and violate our laws, our regulations in order to control COVID and to protect the people; because that was the primary objective — to control the spread of COVID and to protect our people,” Prime Minister Browne added.
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