More COVID-19 restrictions could be lifted towards a reopening of the local economy, Prime Minister Gaston Browne has said.
But he says this is dependent on whether the good news from recent negative COVID-19 results are maintained.
The prime minister says the total lock-down is more than what health experts have recommended since there is no community spread of the coronavirus.
“What we are doing now with the lock-down is primarily out of an abundance of caution just in case there is any community spread, the virus doesn’t get any opportunity to replicate exponentially within the domestic society.”
Browne said if COVID-19 positive numbers continue to hold steady the economy could be reopened within weeks.
“But if after next week and the following week there is continued stability and there is hardly any increase, then clearly we have to move towards reopening the country’s economy,” the prime minister announced on radio.
In light of a possible resumption of economic activity, the prime minister says residents must ” learn to live with COVID and to manage it which requires personal responsibility from all Antiguans and Barbudans.”
He added later that “we are looking at every opportunity to open up the country’s economy as soon as possible without prejudicing the health of the nation.”
“If you know you have certain conditions then you don’t expose yourself.”
Antigua and Barbuda is continuing under a two week lock down evidenced by a state of emergency and a 24-hour curfew.
Browne is also taking aim at some of his critics who say he is relaxing the restrictions too soon.
“We took a decision for example to allow contractors to work so that they can generate income and can get some part of the economy going. But we don’t expect that people who have certain health conditions to go out on the construction site, we want to see the young people.So we have to be sensible and intelligent, that six feet make sure no one comes within it.”
He has also defended government’s decision to permit exercising outside during the state of emergency based on the fact that many residents suffer from chronic non communicable diseases.
“You are telling me we must have people locked up in a home for weeks without having the opportunity to exercise…
“But you know what, the wealthier in our society they have money to feed themselves, their family and their extended family, they have gym equipment in the homes and they really don’t care about the other.”
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I’m more worried about the imported cases if we decide to open up the airport and cruise port. We need to have bullet proof mitigation systems in place. Lets see how much economic activity we can produce without foreign investment. And perhaps build on that. Doesn’t only have to be agriculture. Small manufacturing need to take off, now that the time is ripe for them to take their rightful place. We purchase too much overseas and our hard earned foreign currency is so easily squandered. I know we have issues of economies of scale. But that should not be a stumbling block in these times. Buy local. Lets build a new economy that is less dependent on import. And if we have to import goods lets first look at the currency union. Then the wider CARICOM and thereafter North and South America. I hope the ministry of trade can lead efforts in this.
Absolutely, we must “build a new economy that is less dependent on import”. People of every political stripe should agree on this one. Maybe the elected and officially recognized “Leader” of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, Jamal Pringle, could add some thoughts to this, too. We need everybody to get on board.
This is one time I agree with you. Can’t remember the last time I did.
Polling Results from Saturday: How satisfied are you with the PM’s Leadership. 97%. Margin of Error +/- 5%. How satisfied do you think you would have been if the leader of the UPP was the PM in this current crisis. 2%. Margin of Error 0%. There is no margin of error as it is as factual as can be the UPP would have been a waste in handling such a crisis.
And that is a scientific poll. The results speak volumes. The Nation is united.
The people of antigua and Barbuda should realized that they have a great leader that put the people of the country first world boss you have given the UPP nothing to say an that there problem i salute to you GB a true leader
Doea COVID19 only kill or sicken old or sick people? Young people can also get this highly contagious novel virus that scientists/doctors worldwide are still trying to figure out. You and your ministers Mr. PM are the ‘wealthier in society’ who are safe in your homes while you reopen and sit back and watch the poor people put themselves at risk. Tap tink bout MONEY and tink bout LIVES!!
What options does he have? The government has no money and cannot print any like the US. The PM said there are 20 thousand people without jobs. Who is going to feed these people? Keep the economy close and see how mad hungry people can get. We already have high incidences of thievery. Do you want more?
If a lot more people were sick with this virus it should be showing up by now. Don’t tell me a lot of people are sick and not getting help. The important thing is keeping the borders closed so that no new cases come into the country.
Unfortunately Antiguans elected a government that spent, spent and borrowed, borrowed. What wasn’t spent went into certain people’s bank accounts
Antiguans have only two choices, go back to work or starve. How many tins of tainted corn beef are there to go around?
Mr PM please be consider putting the three persons that recovered, isolate them for 20 days in a controlled government institution.
Persons that recover from the COVID19 virus has been known to relapse and infect many.
Can we play football?
still think this is risky. I wont be to pleased to go back to work with other persons in and AC unit enclosed building as well as send my kids to school with children coming from different households.
Don’t open the economy yet , wait 2 more weeks until we are safe to say so, this virus will remain in antigua for a long time. Extend the curfew until 3pm for now. That will work and will give people a sense of caution still.
What kind of work do you think any contractor can get done between 7-12, seriously what you thinking, you have to relax that time to get a full days work or it makes no sense.
even if he opens the economy leave the airport close for a certain period of time
I’m not an expert, but the only way I see this being done with very little risk to citizens, is if e gradually reopen with no new reported cases, the the air and sea ports remain closed. You only get permission to leave the country under extraordinary circumstances, and upon return you are under GOVERNMENT quarantine!
But the fact is, until we can protect our people, there can be no imported cases, and no communal transmission of the disease
Wadadli Man, you may not be an “expert”, but you sure have wisdom and common sense.
That is an excellent idea going forward Wadadli Man
I think it’s dangerous to open up the airport And seaport.. everywhere else is shut down and there’s might be nobody that will spread it so much… All individuals should be tested upon arrival and those who are positive should be turned away.
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