ST JOHNS, Antigua – The level of Antigua and Barbuda’s categorisation by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be deescalated to Level 2 on Monday, November 30.
Foreign affairs minister E.P. Chet Greene disclosed that, following intervention by Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the United States, Sir Ronald Sanders, CDC provided advance information, in writing, last Thursday that the Travel Health Notice (THN) will be reduced from Level 4 to Level 2 on Monday.
In welcoming this news, minister Greene explained: “We will be placed at the level of “moderate” instead of “very high risk”. He added, “This is the same level as Barbados, and a level lower than most countries in the region. It is recognition of our sterling efforts to fight COVID-19”.
The minister had acted promptly last Monday when a CDC listing had placed Antigua and Barbuda at Level 4, by working with ambassador Sanders to engage CDC for what he considered to be an incorrect rating of the country. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the country has had 141 laboratory-confirmed cases and 4 deaths. Currently, it has only seven active cases, of which just one is new.
Commenting on the matter, ambassador Sanders said that, drawing on factual information provided by Chief Medical Officer, Dr Rhonda Sealey-Thomas and her team, he immediately engaged CDC offices in the US and regional offices in Barbados and Jamaica. Sir Ronald emphasised that all CDC offices were extremely helpful and keen to ensure that Antigua and Barbuda was placed at the correct level. He said he was grateful for their cooperation.
Minister Greene lamented the fact that an entity describing itself as “Real News” and featured on the Internet outlet, Antigua News Room, had sought to mislead the people of Antigua and Barbuda on November 24 by claiming that its unnamed source in Washington said that our efforts “would yield no results” and that “the country’s data is faulty and unreliable”.
“I hope that REAL NEWS and Antigua News Room” will apologise on Monday to the government and people of Antigua and Barbuda for its undermining of the nation, the hard work of our health authorities, and the sacrifice of Antiguans and Barbudans by following strict protocols”.
The minister underscored the benefit of harnessing combined government effort on the ground with swift diplomatic action to “protect the national interest” and decried those who put the nation at risk for narrow and selfish purposes.