Longer Curfew In Antigua Among New Measures As COVID-19 Cases Rise

A nine-hour curfew will take effect on Friday, while several businesses will have to remain closed, as health authorities report a surge in COVID-19 cases overwhelming healthcare facilities.

Cabinet reported that 58 new cases had been recorded Tuesday and Wednesday, taking the number of active cases to 222, with patients ranging from five months old to 82 years old.

There are currently 27 people hospitalized with COVID-19. According to the Cabinet, 13 of the 17 beds at the Infectious Diseases Centre (IDC) are occupied, while 10 of 16 beds in the COVID ward of the Sir Lester Bird Mount St John’s Medical Centre (SLBMJMC) are being used to treat people with severe COVID symptoms.

Meantime, COVID cluster investigations are underway at Royalton Hotel, The St. John’s Fire Station, and Police Headquarters. One person tested positive at the prison.

In order to combat increases in the number of infected people, Cabinet said on Wednesday, several changes would begin on Friday night and continue for two weeks.

Curfew hours will run from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.; gyms will close; restaurants will be open for take-out only; summer camps will close; the maximum number of people allowed in churches has been reduced to 25, excluding the technical team and the clergy; wakes and receptions are also limited to 25 individuals; and informal gatherings are limited to 10 people.

The reopening of schools has also been delayed by one week, until September the 13, “to allow consultations between the Ministry, the parents and to allow the union to consult with its membership”, on issued including COVID-19 vaccination, Cabinet said.

“Sixty-two per cent of all teachers are fully vaccinated and the numbers are heading for 80 per cent. There are almost 8,000 students 12 years and older and the object is to have all of these students vaccinated before face-to-face school resumes,” it noted.

“The union informed that there is a large number of teachers measuring as much as 65 per cent who are opposed to testing. The object is to ensure that 100 per cent of teachers are vaccinated, so that there can be no transmission of COVID-19 to any student. In some private schools, 100 per cent vaccinated teachers has been achieved.

“The law provides that a safe working environment is to be pursued by the employer in this case the Schools is to be safe, for teachers, students and ancillary staff,” it added.

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