Although the wearing of masks has been made optional by the Cabinet, the Executive is now amending the dropping of its mandate.
Reportedly, the Cabinet discussed the matter during its weekly meeting on March 16, and it agreed that masks should still be required to access healthcare facilities, including the hospital.
As a result, all persons entering medical facilities are mandated to wear the face covering and practice the other protocols that remain in effect, including hand washing. The facilities include doctors’ offices, hospitals, private and public clinics, and homes for the elderly.
The decision reportedly follows a request by the Antigua and Barbuda Medical Association to retain this tried and tested method of reducing infections.
Meanwhile, the Administration is still optimistic that it can achieve a 70% vaccination rate in Antigua and Barbuda. The statistic now stands at 62%, with over 61,000 people being fully vaccinated.
The Government is hoping to reach its 70% target by June 30, the date selected by the World Health Organization (WHO), which has promised special incentives to States that meet that vaccination goal.
Several residents tell REAL News they are not surprised by what they see as an “admission.”
One senior citizen says he has long suspected that the Browne Administration “had something to gain” from the international agency, and “that is why they were forcing us to take the drugs in the first place. It was never about our health. It was about what they could get!” he declares bitterly.
The Cabinet has not disclosed what the “special incentives.”
With infection rates having fallen drastically and no serious illnesses being reported, the same residents say the June 30 goal is unrealistic, because, without a mandate, the unvaccinated will not comply.
“People already wised-up,” the senior says. “Nobody is going to fall for the vaccination scare again. And if they try to force the people, it going be trouble,” he predicts.