Prime Minister Gaston Browne said several returning nationals spread the coronavirus to family members when they came home for weddings and funerals in December and January.
On Saturday, Browne told Pointe Fm, “The contact tracers have confirmed a previous observation that we made that the returning national represented the most significant threat to the entire nation in terms of the spread of COVID.”
He said the government warned the citizens and residents not to expose themselves to returning nationals before completing their quarantine.
“Unfortunately, many of our citizens and residents did not heed our advice and today, we are literally paying the price while many of those returning nationals, they are now back in the US. They are not even here to share the burden with us’, The Prime Minister said.
“During the yuletide season, we had in the region of about 1200 returning nationals who were self-quarantining”, Browne said.
He added many of them “violated the quarantines. In fact, a few funerals as well during that period, and some of the returning nationals, they literally beat the system.”
“Apparently, when they came through the airport, they told health officials that they were staying at certain Airbnb properties, and it turned out that was not the case. They were going to live with relatives and friends in the various communities”, he explained.
The Prime Minister revealed that health authorities traced significant spread from “a particular wedding that took place in December and then subsequently sometime in January again a famous funeral in which the family members, they returned to Antigua for the funeral and they did not complete the 14-day quarantine.”
Bowne said, “the problem is that their family members then spread the virus to different institutions. I mean, there was one school that was affected, there’s at least a doctor who would have contracted it, and when they did the contact tracing, it’s going right back to those individuals who came from abroad and participated in that funeral.”
“When we mention these things, it’s based on literally empirical evidence. I mean, we’re not gonna call names, we’re not trying to shame anyone here, we’re just trying to share information with the public as to how the virus could spread,” Browne said.
“People can literally spread the virus, unknowingly, and cause illness and even death for their loved ones,” the Prime Minister added.
“When that happens, you know, they’re in denial, and they say oh, it’s not true, that we’re fabricating stories but what we say here is always factual, but again I just hope that our people will be a little more vigilant,” he concluded.
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