The Government of Antigua and Barbuda Confirms First Case of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

13 March 2020 

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda confirmed the country’s first case of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). During an address to the nation, Prime Minister the Honourable Gaston Browne, MP explained that officials from the Ministry of Health and other key government officials reviewed the results from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) which indicated a positive result for one of the two samples taken from two suspected cases.

The person who tested positive for the virus, according to the Prime Minister, is said to be a young lady who travelled to Antigua on 10 March 2020 from the United Kingdom on a British Airways flight. Upon arrival, the infected individual journeyed to her mother’s home and then subsequently to a private medical clinic after exhibiting symptoms of the virus. At the clinic, a medical doctor examined the patient and upon his preliminary findings, the doctor contacted government health officials who then intervened and activated required protocols. 

Prime Minister Browne further stated, “I want to emphasize that there is no need for fear or panic, arising from this case.  The person concerned is in self-isolation at home, and a regime has been put in place today, not only to continue such isolation but also to treat the condition”.

He then called on the nation to be more prudent in their behaviour and for each other to be their brother’s keeper. “Let us conjoin our efforts to prevent the spread of Covid 19 within the domestic population,” he said.

Prime Minister Browne then concluded, “[c]onsidering the challenges of COVID-19, to include the economic impact and potential threat to our food security, we have to work diligently and collectively as a nation, of one people, with a common destiny to confront these challenges”.

See video the insert at the top to view the Prime Minister’s address to the nation and see below the transcript of the address. Also, click here to view the press conference chaired by the Honourable Molwyn Joseph, MP, Minister of Health, which provides more details concerning the case and the government’s response.