Antigua: Gov’t rethinks recommendations for arriving tourists

The recommendation to have stay-over visitors to Antigua and Barbuda quarantined for 14 days is being reconsidered, as policymakers scramble to put in place a health and safety strategy before borders reopen on June 1.

Quarantining tourists was deemed to be unfeasible if the country is to stand a chance of attracting the type of visitors that will yield a significant amount of economic activity.

“We think the average length of stay will be seven days and not 14 days. It’s not going to be feasible to impose a 14-day quarantine on a would-be visitor,” said Information Minister, Melford Nicholas.

Government has also announced a probable U-turn on previous plans to require all international travellers to present a certificate declaring them Covid-free upon arrival, declaring the measure “unlikely and impractical”. Instead, rapid virus testing will be carried out at ports of entry at a small cost to be borne by the visitor.

Nicholas said passengers will be allowed to disembark and enter Antigua once there is a “confidence level of approximately 98 per cent”.

“Should a requirement happen where a person has shown any illness, we still have onshore facilities on island [where] we will be able to do further tests and isolation and treatment of those particular persons,” he explained.

These guidelines are among a number of regulations that need to be ironed out before the country begins to accept visitors. According to Nicholas, ministers of health and tourism have not yet finalised the way tourists should be received and treated upon entry into the country or at hotels and other accommodations.

Safeguards that have been revealed include the location of quarantine facilities, and an agreement to install a high-tech camera to measure body temperature of passengers arriving into VC Bird International Airport.


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