Citizens stranded abroad because of vaccination policy will now be allowed to return; UPP welcomes this called-for move

The United Progressive Party (UPP) is pleased with the Cabinet’s decision to allow unvaccinated nationals to return home, Senator Damani Tabor confirmed today, February 19.

Last year, during a heightened period of the pandemic, Health officials decided that unvaccinated nationals and citizens living abroad would not be permitted to return home.

However, at its sitting on Wednesday, February 16, the Cabinet reversed that decision, and affected Antiguans and Barbudans can now return, provided that they take either a PCR test or a Rapid Antigen test within four days of coming home.

On arrival here, they must agree to spend seven to 10 days in quarantine, wearing a tracking bracelet, and to take another test before reuniting with family and friends.

Tabor, expressing satisfaction with the decision, says the barrier should not have been erected in the first place.

The Senator says that better policies should have been implemented instead, since there is no difference between an unvaccinated national living abroad and one living here.

Last Thursday, the matter of nationals being marooned abroad, because of the Government’s policy, was raised in Parliament by Opposition Leader Jamale Pringle.

The decision to remove the restriction reportedly came after consultations with the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Terri-Anne Joseph, and Chief Health Inspector Sharon Martin, and with safety and security serving as underlying concerns.

Reports are that discussions on relaxing the restrictions for tourists will continue.