The Antigua and Barbuda government has announced new travel advisory measures which it says go into immediate effect as it moves to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and ensure the continued safety of all travellers and residents.
“This travel advisory replaces all previous travel advisories issued by the government of Antigua and Barbuda,” according to an official statement issued, as it reminded that the island’s borders have been reopened as part of the efforts to revive the local economy.
The statement said that the island would continue to carry out a combination of screening, testing, monitoring and other measures to mitigate the risk of importing any new cases of COVID-19.
“Additionally, measures have been implemented for the quick detection of any imported cases. This strategy is intended to protect and safeguard the health of both residents and visitors to Antigua and Barbuda.
“Nationals and residents of Antigua and Barbuda are strongly advised to restrict their travel to countries with significant escalations in the number of persons recently testing positive for COVID-19 to that for essential purposes only,” the statement said.
It said that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has provided parameters for the establishment of a regional Travel Bubble among the countries of Barbados and the nine-member Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) namely Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.
“This is designed to facilitate intra-regional travel of nationals, movement of essential workers, and inter-regional travel of visitors to the region while ensuring that the necessary health protocols are followed.”
The government said that all arriving passengers by air must have a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR (real-time polymerase chain reaction) test for SARS-CoV-2 taken within seven days of their flight, including transiting passengers but children below the age of 12 years, entering Antigua, do not require such a test.
It said persons traveling to Antigua and Barbuda from countries within the established Travel Bubble must have resided there for no less than 14 consecutive days prior to travel.
“They are required to have a negative COVID 19 RT-PCR test result taken within seven days of their flight. They will undergo mandatory health screening upon arrival but will not be subject to quarantine. All other arriving passengers are subject to quarantine as determined by the Quarantine Authority.”
The statement said passengers arriving for medical treatment/procedures must have a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR taken within seven days of their flight. They also must comply with Ministry of Health Guidelines for the Transfer of Patients into Antigua and Barbuda that includes a letter of Request for Medical Transfer from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the originating country to the CMO of Antigua and Barbuda who is also the Quarantine Authority.
“A Letter of Acceptance from the receiving institution stating that the patient has been accepted for care, together with the name of the physician who will be managing the patient. The intended address in Antigua and Barbuda, together with the name and telephone number of a contact person if available,” the statement said.
It said military vessels, aircraft and other watercraft transporting food, medical supplies, humanitarian and emergency supplies will be required to follow the Quarantine Guidelines as well those issued by Port Health and must give prior notification before arrival.
“These restrictions for maritime traffic, and the consequential Antigua Port Authority guidelines, issued during the State of Emergency, shall not restrict vessels engaged in the innocent passage and/or transit passage, within the territorial seas and/or archipelagic waters of Antigua and Barbuda, under 1982 United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).”
Antigua and Barbuda has recorded 122 cases of the coronavirus as well as three deaths.