9 March 2020
As of 9 March 2020, The Ministry of Health, Wellness, and the Environment wishes to assure the public that there are no suspected cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Antigua and Barbuda. The Ministry continues to monitor the air and seaports and will advise regarding any travel updates.
According to Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), “[i]n the last ten days, 14 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have reported confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), in addition to the United States and Canada”. As of this Friday, March 6th, 2020, 257 cases were confirmed in ten countries and four territories in the Region (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, French Guiana, Martinique, Mexico, San Bartolome, San Martin, and the United States).
Based on this, the Caribbean Public Health Agency, CARPHA has upgraded the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to the Caribbean Region to Very High.
In Antigua and Barbuda, the National COVID-19 Task Force is continuing to keep a close eye on ALL international and regional developments as cases of the COVID-19 moves closer to home. Education and awareness campaigns throughout the island have commenced within community groups and work offices. This campaign is expected to amplify within the week with several scheduled media appearances, community and stakeholder engagements. Approved awareness posters will also be distributed throughout the island with a focus on identifiable prevention and preparation tips.
Further, intensified work on the retrofitted quarantine centre at the Margetson Ward is nearing completion. This refurbished ward at the Holberton Hospital will be equipped to handle any outbreak of the COVID-19 here in Antigua and Barbuda, including quarantining, isolation, treatment and laboratory testing. A team from PAHO is expected on island this week.
As COVID-19 spreads internationally, it’s important to know the symptoms and practice preventative measures. Symptoms include coughing, a high temperature, and shortness of breath.
The Ministry also reminds the general public to exercise proper hand hygiene as well as take general measures against becoming ill. The latter includes adequate rest and hydration and the avoidance of sick persons.