Most Caribbean islands have reopened to international tourism, with protocols in place to protect visitors and residents against Covid-19, and now Antigua and Barbuda have joined the ranks.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne says a “firm date has to be set” in regards to the full re-opening of the island, while he asked citizens to make it a priority to get vaccinated.
As of May 31, 33,214 first doses of the Covid-19 vaccines have been administered, with at least 40,000 doses that can be administered by the end of June.
“At some point, we will have to open up the country’s economy, we’ll have to do away with all of the regulations, the curfew and, you know, other things that we have in place. We would have to fully open up the country at some point,” Browne said.
If individuals permit themselves to “become more vulnerable” and neglect to get vaccinated, opening up the country not long from now, would introduce different issues, Browne said.
“…let’s say we open up the country later in the year and you’re not vaccinated, then you’re running the risk of contracting the disease and potentially getting hospitalized or you can actually die. Now, at that time, I don’t know anyone can fault the government because, on a weekly basis for several months, we’ve been asking people to go out there and, on a daily basis for that matter, to go out there and to get vaccinated,” he told the listeners.
Browne, who in the past has indicated the chance of obligatory inoculation, said that “in the next couple of weeks” he will have further conversations and “that at some point a firm date has to be set to fully reopen the country”.
However, he also warned that “reopening the country with a lot of people unvaccinated obviously will make us very vulnerable to a third wave and potentially high levels of infection. It would also undermine our economy”.
PM Browne insisted that vaccination was the only way out of the pandemic and urged everybody to “get vaccinated, recognizing that each vaccinated, all protected.”
In addition, several islands have begun adopting two-track entry regulations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. Here are the latest developments for travel from the U.S. to each Caribbean country.
All international passengers flying into the U.S. from the Caribbean islands (with the exception of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) will need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test received no more than 72 hours prior to boarding the flight to the U.S. Airlines will deny boarding to those passengers who do not produce a test result. Since the rule was announced many hotels in the Caribbean region have stepped up to offer their guests pre-travel testing.