ST JOHNS, Antigua – Foreign affairs minister E.P. Chet Greene says that his government is “shocked” at the rating of Antigua and Barbuda, released today by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States.
The CDC latest travel recommendation places Antigua and Barbuda at Level 4 which is a ‘very high risk’ category. The previous rating, issued a month ago, had categorised the country at Level 3 or ‘high risk’.
Minister Greene noted that Antigua and Barbuda had devised and implemented strict protocols for curbing the coronavirus. “Consequently, we have no community spread and no clusters”, the minister said.
He continued that “the level of infected persons remains relatively low at 139 with declining active cases, and only four deaths”.
The minister also observed that while he was pleased for sister countries, Barbados and St Lucia that they have been placed at Level 2 or “moderate risk”, it is perplexing that their figures stand at 259 cases and 7 deaths, and 220 cases and 2 deaths respectively.
He noted that of 14 neighbouring Caribbean territories, eight of them are “very high risk”, three are “moderate” at Level 2, and three are “low risk” at Level 1.
Minster Greene disclosed that he has been in touch with Sir Ronald Sanders, Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the United States, and contact will be initiated with the CDC on Tuesday morning “to ascertain the basis on which the country has been placed in a “very high risk” category for travel”.
The minister declared that “if something is not being done about which our authorities need to be aware, then CDC has an obligation to inform us, so that we can remedy it, but putting us on a “very high risk” list without notice, explanation or consultation cannot be right”.
Minster Greene undertook to make a further public statement once ambassador Sanders hears from the CDC in the US.