PM Says Quarantine Policy Not Discriminatory Against Returning Residents


Prime Minister Gaston Browne is defending coronavirus prevention measures which sees tourists going to their hotels and returning nationals going to mandatory quarantine on arrival into Antigua & Barbuda.

Browne told his weekly radio programme that some returning nationals are “fussing about everything.”

“I find that a few of the returning nationals continue to make an issue about it. They are behaving as if the policy is discriminatory, which it is not, and they are fussing about everything even to make a contribution towards their meals,” Browne told Pointe FM.

He said, “we have these protocols in place in order to protect the domestic population.”

“You want to be in a position in which you do not know your covid status and you want to go right into the domestic community,” the prime minister argued.

He says even residents who took a covid-19 test before returning home does not mean they are negative for the coronavirus.

“Out of an abundance of caution have decided that they must be quarantined and they just continue to create an unnecessary amount of discord within the community and I think its most unhelpful,” he said.

“I just want to appeal to them again this is the most responsible thing we could have done to protect the population and they need to abide by the protocols,” Browne added.

Antigua & Barbuda reopened in borders on June 1 and since June 4 there have been daily flights from the US bringing residents and visitors alike.

Returning nationals and residents must quarantine in a government facility. They can opt to take a test after seven days. But the policy on testing and quarantine has changed as quickly as they have been made.

The latest announcement is that all returning nationals must spend at least one night in a state quarantine facility before officials make a further determination on whether they will be able to self-quarantine.

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  1. The PM doesn’t seem to understand what people are most upset about. There are whites who live here who are returning to the island without being quarantined — it is just assumed that since they’re white, they must be tourists. Or maybe a decision has been made that whites — tourists or not — are too good to be quarantined.

    That is the most serious allegation. If true, it is an outrageous state of affairs.

    We are awaiting your response.

  2. So, to summarize, they are not testing arrivals from overseas and they send them home to self quarantine on an honor system. They have no way of telling whether someone stays in self quarantine and there are already reports all over the island of new arrivals being seen out of quarantine. They have spent 100s of thousands of dollars, by their own account, on tests which have not been delivered and I doubt that money will ever be seen again. They have no ability to do the PCR test at the hospital, so I’m guessing they are still sending any swabs to Trinidad. All up, a massive confusion and smokescreen of lies, the result will be disastrous for the population here

    • You summarized it perfectly. One rule for tourists and another for Antiguans. If the tourists can be allowed in on an honor system, then the same should apply to indigenous Antiguans.

    • Guy you are spreading false information. We are locally testing swabs at MSJ. Dr. Simon spoke to this some 3 weeks ago. As far as the antigen test, they are expected to here tomorrow (Monday, 15th of June). With them in place, it will make testing easier since PCR testing is burdensome and expensive. PCR testing will not be workable when the volume of air traffic normalizes. The Sofia 2 SARS Antigen test is the first of this type to be approved (may 9th by the US FDA) and will eventually be the gold standard as far as covid testing. It provides results in 15 minutes

      As far as your issue with the policy for persons who will live directly in our communities vs a hotel, the risks are not the same. The decision on whether returning nationals can quarantine at their own home is made based on whether their home facilities can facilitate such. You really can’t expect that someone who lives in a 2 bedroom, one bathroom house with 5 persons will be accessed at the same risk as someone who lives alone. When the policy was that all returning nationals be quarantined for 14 days, persons complained, now that its only those who can’t properly quarantine at their own residence, some still complain

      • The one spreading false information is the government. The PM has been saying all arrivals are being “tested” for weeks. No one is being tested, only their temperature is being taken. This is misleading in the extreme.

        Dr Simon spoke to this 3 weeks ago? Really, you are trying to tell me they had the PCR test working 3 weeks ago???? I know they didn’t. In any case the issue is that most people who arrive are not tested and are simply let off to self quarantine on their own word. Everyone recognizes how dangerous this is.
        The antigen test will eventually become gold standard? How can you possibly determine that? Whether or not a test becomes gold standard is not able to be determined in advance.

        I made no mention of people in communities vs hotel, so where you got that from who knows. I was talking about all arrivals. Again, a series of misleading and confusing statements all thrown together in an attempt avoid the issue

        • Guy again,Dr Simon publicly stated this:

          “Local testing for COVID-19 has begun. The revelation was made Thursday evening by head of the laboratory at the Mount St John’s Medical Center and Consultant Pathologist Dr Lester Simon.
          He said about 7 tests have so far been completed and all the results have been shown to be accurate by the Caribbean Public Health Agency, CARPHA. see ABS EXCLUSIVE: LOCAL TESTING FOR COVID-19 HAS BEGUN, May 21, 2020

          Again since your head seems hard, there is a difference in testing procedure of tourists vs returning nationals because the returning nationals pose more of a risk due to their in general living among us (communities vs hotel)

          • Again, since you seem unable or unwilling to see my point, let me spell it out for you- simple question: is ANYONE being tested on arrival? if your answer to this yes, what is the “test” that is being done?

          • You said:
            “They have no ability to do the PCR test at the hospital, so I’m guessing they are still sending any swabs to Trinidad.”

            Dr. Simon said:
            ““Local testing for COVID-19 has begun. The revelation was made Thursday evening by head of the laboratory at the Mount St John’s Medical Center and Consultant Pathologist Dr Lester Simon.” see ABS EXCLUSIVE: LOCAL TESTING FOR COVID-19 HAS BEGUN, May 21, 2020

            You said:
            “The PM has been saying all arrivals are being “tested” for weeks. No one is being tested, only their temperature is being taken. This is misleading in the extreme.”
            Government has stated:

            Prime Minister Gaston Browne says tourist on the first international flight have all tested negative for the novel coronavirus.

            “So far, we have tested approximately sixty tourists who came in on the first American Airlines flight and they all tested negative for COVID,” Browne said on his personal facebook page.” see

            As far as returning nationals. those who show symptoms, or are found in during covid tracking, are being tested. Those who remain in government facilities have the option of getting tested and if negative can leave the quarantine at their own property. Please when you post try and be accurate

          • I have never spent 14 days in Antigua on any of my visits.My trips are usually for 10 days.I usually go where the heck I feel like going.I would not be spending monies to be quarantined.So with that in mind me a tap ah me house this year.

      • Tenman:Who are deemed to be Tourists.I am a National of Antigua and Barbuda.I traveled on a non Antigua and Barbuda passport.Would the powers that be deemed me to be a Tourist.Or that word Tourist is only applied to those with foreign Passports and lighter skinned tones.
        May be you should become the Cabinet spokesman.Instead of that Melford man.He muddled the simplest of matters.That man is very confused.

  3. We know that GB is desperate for money and is trying to raise some by charging returning nationals a $100us fee. Anyway most people who don’t have to come to Antigua will be staying put where they are. Why expose themselves to Covid-19 unnecessarily. Few tourists will be coming as their countries are in dire straits and many of them are unemployed. Antiguans May have to suck salt for the next couple of years.

  4. Are tourists quarantining for 14 days at the hotel or are they allowed to leave and go to tourist sites, into town etc? If the answer to this is yes then how is it different than nationals quarantining at home?

  5. Because the PM says it is not discriminatory means it is not.

    The individual in the position has the best view. The PM is not in the position.

    The move is discriminatory. It is clearly not in the interest of African people.

    When an African tourist encounter the current set up by prejudgment it will change.

  6. The discrimination is real – whether the PM is aware of it or not – – – tourists who are staying at one of the “bio-safe properties” (rolls eyes) – shared in a travel group and I quote since I can’t share the screen shot here… Hon PM its one thing to make policy and another having it being implemented – – – clearly there is a disconnect that you may or may not be aware of and it needs to be fixed – just like that stupid policy where customs allowed visitors to slide right through without checking their bags but harass returning nationals…. this was at the heart of the last scandal with the tourist and ammunition in her bag where double standards were once again applied… smh we Antiguans and Barbudans deserve better

    TOURIST – Arrived this evening and we past the test. Neither myself or husband had to do a swab and we are from NY.

    POTENTIAL TRAVELER – What was the screening process for u guys then? (We’re also from ny)

    TOURIST – you fill out paperwork and then you go into these makeshift little rooms with 2 guys in almost hazmat suits. They ask where are you from and what do you do for a living. Just told them we have both been quarantined in our house for the last 3 months working from there and that was it.

    • yes exactly. In other words, NO TESTING IS BEING DONE ON ARRIVALS AT THE AIRPORT. Doesn’t matter if they are returning Antiguans or tourists.

      • You wrote: “. NO TESTING IS BEING DONE ON ARRIVALS AT THE AIRPORT. Doesn’t matter if they are returning Antiguans or tourists.”

        Tripadvisor says:
        JWall (Joined in Oct 2011, 4 contributions16 helpful votes) wrote a review Jun 6

        First vacationers since Covid19
        My trip had originally been scheduled and paid for this past December when my husband and I stayed at the Sandals Grand Antigua. We enjoyed it so much and everyone is so friendly we knew we were coming back six months later. Unfortunately, my husband is a professor at a university and could not take off as all of his in class courses had to be converted to online courses. He could not travel and needed to stay home. I can go on vacation whenever I want. I asked a very good friend of mine to come along with me….
        We had no idea that this week was a history making vacation. News crews were at the airport when we landed because we were the first tourists to come back or to be allowed to enter. The only negative thing was that we were all required to have a nasal swab test for Covid. No one knew that was going to take place. A very unpleasant and uncomfortable experience but I knew once I got to sandals everything was going to be all right……”

        Arnold clearly your statement that no one is being tested is a lie

  7. JACK SINGER June 12, 2020 at 11:37 am

    I know this off topic but I am PISSED. I am appealing to my UPP Executives and Members. Our Upp is Experiencing and Suffering from a Public Relations DISASTER.I listened to Cortright Marshall this Morning ( June 12 2020 ) with Darren Matthew Ward and I was ashamed. Cortright just talking about CONSULTATION. How can anyone consult in this COVID 19 CRISIS. I also listened to Damani Tabor another Disaster. My UPP Members please DO NOT let These Guys see the face of Radio anymore. These Guys are damaging our Party. If this continues UPP will be doomed in 2023. Please be guided accordingly.


    • @Jack Singer

      UPP is using DNA hand book lol.

      Consultations consultations consultations

      Now the UPP will be releasing their candidates in batches just like what DNA did lol.

      This is a joke.

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