ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – The Antigua and Barbuda government says fully vaccinated visitors to the island will now have to undergo PCR testing for the coronavirus (COVID-19) three days before their arrival on the island.
The government says the new measure is as a result of the new strains of the virus that are more easily transmissible. It said that the requirement will be made effective June 1.
“The same three-day rule will apply to those who are not fully vaccinated or those who have not been vaccinated at all,” said the statement issued following the weekly Cabinet meeting.
It said that the gazetted regulations currently call for a PCR Test, administered no more than seven days before getting on board the aircraft heading for Antigua. For those who are fully vaccinated–meaning, those who have taken the two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine…vaccine–entry into Antigua and Barbuda ought to be made easier.”
The statement said that upon presenting themselves to the Quarantine Authority at the V.C. Bird Airport, a PCR Test will be administered at that point of entry. Those who are visitors will be dispatched to their reserved place at a bio-secure space at one of the hotels that had been certified by the Central Board of Health; those who are residents and have been fully vaccinated will be allowed to return to their homes.”
But the statement noted that other arriving passengers, who are not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated at all, will be dispatched to either the Government Quarantine Center, or to their homes depending upon the conditions at the private residences.
“Those who are fully vaccinated will then have their airport test results revealed in 48 hours and be allowed to end their quarantine immediately, if the results are negative; those whose test results are positive will be required to spend 14 days in quarantine and be tested a second time before their release on the 14th day.
“Those who are not fully vaccinated or who have had no vaccinations administered will also have their test results revealed within five days, and may be allowed to end their quarantine within seven days, following arrival, if the results are negative. Arriving passengers may pay for the tests in advance. “
The government said it is encouraging every adult in every household to get fully vaccinated and to do so certainly before they travel away from Antigua and Barbuda.
“The Cabinet reminds that many of the destinations served by departing aircraft will shortly require all visitors to those cities and countries to which the aircraft fly to be fully vaccinated.”
Meanwhile, the Cabinet was informed that nearly 3,000 adults have taken their required second shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine as required, in order to boost efficacy.
“The Minister (of Health) advised that no evidence of the dangerous Indian strain of the coronavirus has yet been discovered in Antigua and Barbuda. Now is the time to take the vaccine since it will ready the immune system to fight the easily transmissible strain, preventing hospitalization and death. The crisis in India can only be replicated if un-vaccinated adults become victims of this highly contagious and dangerous strain,” the statement added.