Rapid test for fully vaccinated visitors to Antigua from next week


Travellers to Antigua and Barbuda will soon have the option to choose between a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and a rapid antigen Covid-19 test in meeting the pre-departure requirements to be allowed into the country.

The adjustment to the rules will come into effect on November 17 and a new travel advisory will be released shortly, detailing that and the requirement for incoming visitors to be fully vaccinated.

Allowing the rapid antigen tests – which must be presented before boarding a plane to Antigua – is a significant deviation from what has been the norm since July 2020, when the mandatory testing requirement was first implemented. Since then, only PCR tests have been accepted by the health authorities, who have consistently referred to them as the “gold standard” of testing.

Compared to the rapid antigen tests, PCR tests are more sensitive and have accuracy that nears 100 percent, though they take a much longer time to produce results.

According to the government, however, the shift in approach is down to factors including a high confidence in the prevailing conditions, both at home and abroad.

“It’s confidence in terms of yes, we’re satisfied that a greater percentage of our people here – particularly those on the frontline – have been vaccinated. Our level of confidence in utilising these tests [also] has a lot to do with the number of persons who are vaccinated in [our tourism] source markets,” Information Minister, Melford Nicholas, told yesterday’s post-Cabinet media briefing.

“It is also a function of cost and availability in some of our source markets, to ensure that we can boost our tourism product…there are a number of persons who would wish to avail themselves of a vacation in Antigua and sometimes the four-day window for PCR tests may present them with particular challenges.”

The adjustment is likely to be applauded by players within the tourism sector as it could mean an increase in future bookings, and it has already been welcomed by some tourists who told Observer their previous plans to travel to the island had been ‘held to ransom’ by the PCR requirement. PCR tests also tend to be significantly more expensive than their rapid counterparts.

In territories like the UK and the US, certain rapid tests are allowed as part of their entry requirements, based on pronouncements from agencies like the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Those seals of approval are another reason behind the Antigua and Barbuda government’s confidence to allow the rapid tests and the point was made clear that the rule change will not extend to every rapid test available, but only to those approved by the aforementioned CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

The government assured too, that the adjustment has been okayed by the country’s top health authority and that a high level of vigilance will be maintained to prevent any breaches.

“We’re satisfied, even where a person would show up in the jurisdiction that may have come through without an acceptable test, that they will be required to have a PCR test done at the point of entry…so it’s confidence on a number of levels.

“I think we have looked at all the possibilities and the Chief Medical Officer did give us her particular responses to the issue before giving her consent that we should move along this route,” Nicholas added.

The minister later told Observer that citizens and residents of Antigua and Barbuda coming into the country need only show proof they have had one dose of a Covid jab, rather than being required to be fully jabbed as is the rule for tourists.-DAILY OBSERVER-

Advertise with the mоѕt vіѕіtеd nеwѕ ѕіtе іn Antigua!
We offer fully customizable and flexible digital marketing packages.
Contact us at [email protected]


  1. So……If I come through the airport as vaccinated and test positive with these test, will I get the same treatment as the non-vaccinated? Quarantine? The vaccine doesn’t stop you from getting the virus or transmitting it. Why is it a different test if the potential outcome is the same? If most all Antiguans that work in the hotel industry are vaccinated then why test at all? I’m confused by the reason of science and the gov’t use of data to try and justify these actions. Please, just make it a little more difficult for people to visit Antigua………there are other options out there.

  2. So….then we dnt need to have a negative test on arrival?


    And will this test be FREE.99.

  3. As a born National of Antigua I cannot come to my land of birth unless I’m vaccinated and no one has challenged this or most things happening in Antigua. I will never return to my country because there’s NO WAY IN HELL I’M GOING TO HELP THE DICTATOR AND TYRANT GET HIS COW I MEAN HERD IMMUNITY OF WHICH THERE’S NO SUCH THING,

    • Exactly. Antigua is perhaps the only country that discriminates against its own citizens like this, barring their entry, while rolling out the red carpet to foreigners for $$$. Pure slave mentality.

      • Have you actually read the article? Only one vaccine needed is you a resident plus obviously a negative test, tourist need to be fully (2doses) vaccinated, plus test negative, so how is this rolling out the red carpet for tourist?

  4. That “would give permission to passengers arriving in Antigua and Barbuda to take an approved rapid-test.” Isn’t oddly worded? Is it required, or not? Is it for people who want to be assured that they are still negative, but would be optional?

  5. Now I get why they beg the good old US of A for field hospitals. You test positive on arrival. Your home will be at the tent city up Camp Blizzard. Expect to pay for your own test on arrival or it might be built into the cost of your ticket.

    Guess they have plenty of rapid test hanging around collecting dust. So what better way to make some money. Test all arriving passengers.

    Ministers going on pension soon. They don’t want no bonds in lieu of payment!

  6. @ all the comments before mine …. this u guys deliberately misread the article or u playing games don’t u realize the test is to be done before u leave your country and not done here in antigua … it’s a predepature test before u board a flight here …

    • @ Curious I didn’t deliberately misread anything or playing games .YOU MISREAD WHAT I WROTE AND PLAYING which has nothing to do the current article. not “all the comments before yours” because mine specifically spoke about Nationals/Citizens living abroad that has to be vaccinated to visit Antigua. here’s a pair 👓 .

Comments are closed.