Confirmed virus cases pass 3,500, amidst calls by residents for free and accessible rapid testing, as well as a mobile service

As pleas continue for more testing in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, Antigua & Barbuda’s case count has passed 3,500, with 167 new infections recorded over a two-day period. 

The Ministry of Health, on its most recent dashboard, indicates that the cases are for September 30 and October 1, and were among 203 samples tested at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre and 295 at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

These have taken the country’s total confirmed cases to 3,503, of which 1,110 are active.  Seventy-five recovered cases were recorded over the period, increasing that total to 2,308.

Hospitalized cases are now at 49, with severe cases having decreased to four following several deaths; 33 mild, and 12 moderate. 

Meanwhile, Antigua and Barbuda has fully vaccinated 42,989 individuals and over 10,000 have received their first jab.  

However, many residents are echoing the call of United Progressive Party Political Leader Harold Lovell, who has recommended free rapid testing.  He argues that catching the disease in its early stages could curtail the spread of the virus and reduce deaths. 

Some residents say that testing should be not only free, but easily accessed, with a mobile service added for the benefit of persons who live out in the country; the disabled; and the elderly.   

Some supporters of the Browne Administration have argued that providing free rapid tests would be too costly for the Government.  But Lovell believes that donations of test kits could be successfully solicited from friendly governments in the same way that donations of vaccines were received.

Meanwhile, several persons are inquiring about the cash donations made by corporate citizens earlier this year when the Administration made an appeal.  

The funds were to be used to purchase vaccines, the Prime Minister said, then.  However, no report has ever been given on these funds, one woman points out to REAL News.