The Antigua and Barbuda government has expressed “shock” at the decision of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to place the island on the high-risk category regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Antigua and Barbuda is among several Caribbean countries, to have been given the highest risk assessment by the Atlanta-based CDC.
CDC has raised the assessment of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas, Haiti, Belize, Bonaire, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Saint Marten, Sint Eustatius, Suriname, Sint Martin, Dominican Republic as well as the Turks and Caicos Islands from Level Three to Level Four, which is the highest on the risk assessment scale.
Foreign Affairs Minister E.P. Chet Greene said that Antigua and Barbuda had “devised and implemented strict protocols for curbing the coronavirus.
“Consequently, we have no community spread and no clusters. The level of infected persons remains relatively low at 139, with declining active cases, and only four deaths”.
Greene said while he was pleased for sister countries, Barbados and St Lucia that they have been placed at Level 2 or “moderate risk, “it is perplexing that their figures stand at 259 cases and seven deaths, and 220 cases and two deaths, respectively.”
The Antigua and Barbuda Foreign Affairs Minister said he has been “in touch” with Sir Ronald Sanders, the island’s Ambassador to the United States, on the matter.
“Contact will be initiated with the CDC on Tuesday to ascertain the basis on which the country has been placed in a very high-risk category for travel. If something is not being done about which our authorities need to be aware, then CDC has an obligation to inform us so that we can remedy it,” Greene said.
“But putting us on a very high-risk list without notice, explanation or consultation cannot be right,” Greene said, promising to “make a further public statement once Ambassador Sanders hears from the CDC in the US”.