Sir Molwyn blames residents who came home for Christmas for community spread of COVID-19

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The number of COVID-19 cases recorded since the beginning of the year has almost quadrupled, and the Minister of Health said that lawless residents are to blame.

At the same time, residents have levied their own claims to the effect that tourists have not had to quarantine while returning nationals are mandated to do so.

Many people are of the view that the rules unfairly discriminate against citizens of Antigua and Barbuda.

But Health Minister Sir Molwyn Joseph, while speaking on Observer AM yesterday, said that the evidence has proven otherwise.

“This is an issue that has lingered for too long in light of the evidence that we have. Let me be specific. The problem we are in now has to do with the residents of Antigua and Barbuda and citizens who return to Antigua during the Christmas season and they were quarantined, not isolated. They were asked to quarantine at home. There were over 1,500 of them and hardly anyone stayed home. They were up and about,” Joseph said.

“In terms of the visitors, they are required to restrict their movements and the evidence we have — and it has been the evidence since March through December — there has not been any significant transmission of the disease from the visitors, the tourists who come to Antigua and Barbuda and that’s a fact. We have the data,” he disclosed.

The Health Minister was also asked about complaints from some residents who say they have been left languishing in isolation without hearing from officials, and they have not been able to find out the results of their COVID tests.

“I’ve been hearing more of that question and I have asked my senior officers to investigate that. People in isolation should be hearing from the epidemiology unit and people should be tested and released if they are negative. So, I do not know the accuracy but I appreciate that that could very well be problem, and I’m glad that that is being brought to my attention so I’ll address that issue,” he responded.

Meanwhile, uncertainty over when the country will receive its next batch of vaccines is threatening to stymie the government’s target of inoculating 80,000 adults in 35 days.

To date, Antigua and Barbuda has received 40,000 doses of AstraZeneca from India and 5,000 from Dominica. It has in turn gifted 5,000 doses to Grenada.

So far, thousands of residents have received an initial shot of the jab, but questions linger over when an additional 40,000 doses due to come via the COVAX scheme will arrive due to high global demand.

Joseph told Observer that the government would find out on Monday when those doses – and crucially how many – are likely to come.

AstraZeneca is administered via two doses 12 weeks apart. If not enough are forthcoming from COVAX in time, the national rollout will have to be halted to enable those who have had a first shot get their second dose from current supplies.

Minister Joseph was asked if the COVAX arrangement does not transpire as hoped, if the government will remain on track to meet its target.

He said:” If the vaccine doesn’t come we cannot distribute the vaccine. The target has to be met with the vaccines here in Antigua.” — Observer Media

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24 COMMENTS

  1. So the people just came home and slipped past the border,eh?

    Officials at the border had no obligation to test or quarantine those folks in a secure facility?

    And of course the thousands of tourists and yachties who had no restrictions imposed on them at all they were COVID free, I guess.

    The truth is mostly tourists (because there’s magnitudes more of them and they aren’t tested or even quarantined) spread disease to this island over the holidays and some returning nationals did as well.

    And both scenarios are the fault of the people who designed faulty border control policies — ie Joseph and Browne and the rest of the clown government

  2. Molwyn clearly state that it is not a blame game. But the reporters insist on doing so. It is a fact. The data shows clearly that the spread came from Locals coming home for Weddings, Funerals and Xmas spead the virus around and left. And from their on it went from bad to worst. What is wrong with making that data public. At least people should understand not to take changes with their families who come home even if they have a negative Covid test.

    • Since they are not testing tourists and yachties.

      There will almost never be an official increase in imported cases simply because v the government is purposely not testing B those people

      Logically, we all know the disease came to Antigua from abroad.

      And it logically came in highest magnitude from the huge numbers of tourists from high COVID areas.

      But yes, once introduced into Antigua the disease will continue to spread from local to local, from tourists to locals, and even from locals to tourists

      The policy of only quarantining only some folks entering the country has been an abject failure

  3. Blame yourselves. You and your cohorts reopened the borders since June 2020 so that revenue could be earned. Money was chosen over life.

    A conscious decision was made by all who encompass the cabinet to concur with the Finance Minister. That voting to reopen the borders on June 2020 was the practical thing to do. ABS broadcast it live as the first arriving passengers deplaned an American Airlines flight from Miami in the dead of night.

    Revenue needed to be earned by the economy drivers. Tourism services! The Airport Authority has a big loan choking it to death. So you all “the government “ needed revenue from taxes generated from ticket sales; landing fees, parking fees, fuel and catering services. To pay back the financiers in China that you borrowed from to construct the beautiful new terminal. Don’t blame UPP! Government is continuous. Call a spade a spade!

    Thank you for correcting your speech with referring to Antiguans and Barbudans as “citizens” not “nationals.” Hopefully you have spearheaded the correct language when referring to born Antiguans and Barbudans. Your cabinet members should take notice.

    To wrap this comment up. The deaths and infections that have occurred in Antigua are due in my oppinion to the gateway in which the virus had a way to enter the country. The reopening of VCBIA.

    Blame yourself Minister Joseph. Blame your Political leader. Blame your cabinet members. You all were elected to govern the people and provide for their health and welfare. You all failed to discharge your duties.

  4. As an Antiguan, I am amazed that the minister of health have no regard for nationals and advocates for foreigners. The tourist brought the virus to the island. The minister of health is stricter on nationals returning than on tourists, its a fact. Nationals returning had to take a covid test prior to traveling, the tourist coming from areas where the virus is spreading go directly to the hotels and infect the staff. This becomes community spread, because hotel workers go home, shop in groceries and travel back to work. The tourist visiting should also have the stringent requirements nationals have to endure to visit. He was knighted for doing a mediocre job, and continue to show his lack of integrity.

    • What happened is obvious. They are V still trying to confuse the easily duped amongst us.

      Also Joseph repeatedly saying the island was COVID free and downplaying the spines of the situation didn’t help citizens take the threat seriously.

  5. Still insisting on blaming the victims. This idea that it was locals coming home for Xmas is completely false. What the data shows is that the significant numbers of infections we are seeing now only started roughly 3-4 weeks ago, long after the Xmas peak seen in the US and other countries had come and gone. Everyone knows it is business telling the government they have to open, and if a few Antiguans get sick and die, it’s worth it because profits have to be made.

  6. Time for this government to throw in the towel bare nonsense going on in this administration blaming returning residents alone such blatant lies this administration just full of all lies care nothing about its citizens and nationals only care about teking up the money out the county and foreign investors country going to the ground. Well the country Dey ah ground!

  7. When its good the government is doing a wonderful job when its bad its the locals. Take the blame for the good, bad, and ugly. It is the leaders fault not the locals. A government that blames and never take responsibility.
    20 more years of this government they will still blame the previous administrations

  8. A man that get knighthood …should not be taking seriously, what have they done at the borders is the cause for this

  9. Is this the mad season ? What happen to due diligence ? It appears that everyone has been sleeping at the wheel at the port of entry. . Did they knowingly allow people to pas through who tested positive? We do not need pie in the sky info to try and justify your stance Sir , Something dose not sound right to me . I have friends that visited and told me they never quarantined . I am speaking of born Americans with no relation to any Antiguan.

  10. So if I’m to believe the arguments of tourists coming here with Covid then how come none of them are ending up at MSJMC. Are they so immune against the virus. All A-sympthomatic. Give me a break

  11. And Green’s daughter came here even though she was sick in the UK. She proceeded to try and get medical attention and didn’t even quarantine herself. We all know who allowed her to come into the country. Start with that.

    Dictator and traitor Gaston made a statement a few days ago he could have been exposed to the virus yet he, the so called leader, never quarantined or tested himself.

    Where are Nigel Christian’s killers? How is it possible in a small island like this they haven’t caught them yet? Is it because his execution was directed from those in high positions?

  12. Blame,Blame,Blame,Blame,all others,not yourself.Oh Knighted one.You are above taking blame for anything.You are full of yourself.That has been your trait.Since the days of playing cricket in that pasture behind behind Dicky Dick in Jennings.

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