Antigua and Barbuda: The Cabinet has held a discussion on the bills related to the COVID-19 regulations and also approved the regulation on March 10, 2022. The new regulations stated that all the schools in the country are permitted to return to the face-to-face classes from Monday, March 14, 2022.
While notifying the various COVOD-19 protocols, the Cabinet has approved guidelines as such:
- Face-to-face classes in the schools of the country are approved to return with the full majority.
- Students are not required to wear a mask against the novel coronavirus in Schools.
- However, face masks ought to be worn by the security personnel, the administrators, and those who will likely have contact with a large number of students and other personnel.
- These workers are encouraged to wear face masks.
- Sanitizing and temperature checks are continued requirements.
- Social distancing cannot be achieved with full face-to-face learning.
- Buses, taxis and other forms of public transportation can return to full capacity, but drivers and conductors are encouraged to wear masks. Sanitizing is still required.
Further, the Cabinet has also approved the bills related to the vaccination status for the national return to Antigua and Barbuda, which will come into force on Wednesday, March 16, 2022.
- Nationals and residents of Antigua and Barbuda returning to Antigua do not require vaccinations.
- However, they require a Covid test (PCR or approved Rapid Antigen) no more than four days old and a quarantine period in their own homes of 10 to 14 days.
- Further, nationals and residents who are vaccinated do not require a Covid test to enter Antigua (unless they show symptoms of possible infection).
- More than 40,000 vaccination ID cards have been issued thus far, such that the nationals and residents can readily prove their vaccination status.
- All tourists travelling to Antigua and Barbuda are required to be fully vaccinated; however, these visitors do NOT require a PCR or Rapid Antigen Test for entry into Antigua and Barbuda.
Further, the Cabinet held discussions on Covid-19 and invited the Chief Medical Officer, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer and the Senior Officer in the Central Board of Health to its weekly meeting.
COVID-19 situation in Antigua and Barbuda:
The Minister of Health reported that in the last week, only thirteen cases of Covid infection were reported, and there are no Covid-19 patients hospitalized in Antigua and Barbuda.
The Cabinet was of the view that because as many as 62% of the eligible Antigua and Barbuda population has been vaccinated, the virus and its current Omicron variant are having a diminishing impact on sickness and on death.
The Cabinet, therefore, continues to encourage all eligible men and women to get vaccinated; it is of the view that the 70% rate that is aimed at can be achieved by June 1 2022.
The Cabinet has also agreed that the regulations governing the wearing of face masks are to be repealed, making the wearing of masks optional effective Wednesday, March 16, 2022.
The CMO and her team propose that face masks be worn by workers indoors (office, stores, supermarkets, financial institutions, churches, civic groups, schools, bars, clubs) where workers come into contact with many strangers. In outdoor places also, where there is likely to be crowds of people, the wearing of a face mask is dutifully encouraged.