Authorities have extended restrictive measures associated with the national state of emergency through December 31, in attempts to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The nightly curfew which runs from 23:00-05:00 (local time) will continue. During curfew hours residents are prohibited from moving outside of their homes except if providing or seeking emergency and critical services.
Face masks remain mandatory in all public spaces and must be worn to enter supermarkets and markets. Retail stores, pharmacies, and hardware stores may operate between 05:00 and 21:00. Industry-specific measures are in place in various sectors, including restaurants, bars, clubs, casinos, gyms, personal grooming services, and hotels. Social distancing regulations must be observed at all businesses, with individuals allowing a 2m (6ft) distance between each other. Private parties and social events hosting more than one household remain prohibited. Wedding, funeral, baptism, and church services are permitted with no more than 25 people in attendance and providing all participants observe social distancing regulations and wear face masks. Spectator sports events are prohibited. Individuals are permitted to undertake exercise between 05:00 and 21:00 and may be accompanied by members of their household, or by one other person from outside of their household so long as face masks are worn and social distancing is observed. Beach visits are restricted to between 05:00-19:00 and picnics, music, consuming alcohol, and parties are prohibited.
All individuals arriving into Antigua and Barbuda will undergo enhanced health screening, will be required to complete a health declaration form, and those aged 12 and over arriving by air must present a negative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result taken within seven days prior to arrival. Those arriving from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) travel bubble countries of Anguilla, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will undergo mandatory health screenings upon arrival but will not be required to quarantine, provided they have been in the travel bubble for 14 consecutive days prior to arriving.
Passengers arriving outside the CARICOM travel bubble will be subject to quarantine and may be required to undergo further COVID-19 testing on arrival, as determined by the Health Authorities. Those arriving by sea may be required to quarantine as determined by the Port Health Authorities.
As of November 4, there have been 128 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and three associated fatalities in Antigua and Barbuda. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, or a rash on the skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
• Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
• When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
• If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.