The Antigua and Barbuda government says the state of emergency (SOE) put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus will end on December 23, but the established COVID-19 protocols “shall still govern”.
In addition, the government said that effective, December 15, all passengers arriving on the island should be fully vaccinated and shall also have a negative PCR Test or a Negative Rapid Antigen Test no more than four days old.
A statement issued following the weekly Cabinet meeting noted that the government ministers had focused upon COVID-19 and “assessed its continued impact on Antigua and Barbuda, the Caribbean region, and upon several countries in Europe.
“In light of the resurgence in COVID-19 cases in several of the nation’s tourism source markets, Cabinet repeats that all health protocols are to remain in place even during the New Year. All citizens and residents are to continue to wear face masks; they are to continue to engage in sanitizing the hands; and to engage in social distancing, as far as is possible. “
The statement said that all bars and clubs and private parties over the Christmas holidays are to continue to request vaccine ID cards for entry; no other form of COVID-19 vaccination identification shall be accepted.
It said vaccination IDs issued overseas for tourists and returning nationals, upon entry into Antigua and Barbuda, will be accepted at the bars and clubs.
The statement said that the Central Board of Health (CBH) and Law Enforcement will monitor behaviors on the beach and at the bars and clubs should it appear that the rules are being disregarded.
“The object is to ensure that there will be no spike in COVID cases after the Christmas holidays. There shall be no clustering, no consumption of liquor, no music and no picnicking on the beaches even after the state of emergency has been lifted.
“It is anticipated that there will be an increase in the number of infections following the Christmas Holidays; therefore all citizens and residents are expected to display caution during the holiday season since they may become infected by unvaccinated people. Everyone is encouraged to get the vaccine if they have not done so yet.”
Regarding the need for all visitors to be fully vaccinated from December 15, the statement said the Technical Working Group (TWG) has issued a list of the approved rapid antigen tests that can be used to enter Antigua and Barbuda in lieu of the PCR test.
It said that the TWG has also published a list of categories of persons who are eligible for booster shots and that the Cabinet will prioritize the list of men and women who are eligible for a booster shot.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet has been informed that “a single medical personnel has been suspended, while investigations into the alleged fraudulent issuance of the vaccine booklet continue.
“At least 40 individuals had received the booklets and the Cabinet has insisted that they proceed to have themselves vaccinated,” the statement said.