Government should decide, by Wednesday, whether to remove vaccination requirement for entry, PM says

Antigua and Barbuda is looking at further relaxing some of its entry requirements for visitors and returning nationals.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne said, on Saturday, that the Government continues to review the restrictions and, come Wednesday, January 26, there could be a relaxation of the vaccine mandate.

This is, however, dependent on the public-health situation, which now reports 764 active COVID-19 cases, with 116 new infections recorded on the weekend.

At present persons have to be fully vaccinated to enter the country. But Browne says the Government is looking at allowing both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers here – once they have tested negative through an approved Rapid Antigen or PCR test.

Browne says his Administration is moving toward a policy of personal responsibility, which he claims he has advocated in the past.

He says that as more restrictions are removed, the onus will be on  individuals to protect themselves and abide by the protocols to avoid contracting COVID.  He says that those with symptoms should move immediately to get medical help and to stay away from others.

Meanwhile, Browne says that COVID-19 testing will be ramped up in many of the communities since doctors will be provided with kits to assist with the testing regime.  He says that this is expected to drive down the cost of testing and reduce the related unscrupulous practices.

Cabinet will also review what the government charges for the test, he adds.

PM Browne says the Government will try to obtain some user-friendly test kits for widespread distribution as the Ministry of Health expands its testing sites.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged countries to lift travel bans and not to ask for vaccination proof for entry, according to recent reports.