The challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic continues to engage Cabinet, even when the announced policies are being examined to determine the degree of their success. It was agreed that insufficient new data had emerged in the seven days since the prior Cabinet to warrant a further examination of the proposal to eliminate the requirement of vaccinations for entry into Antigua and Barbuda. It was agreed that the review of the entry requirements will take place when the new data become available.
The Cabinet agreed to adjust the regulations which now allow only medical professionals and institutions to lawfully import the Rapid Antigen Covid Testing kits. The adjusted regulations will allow rapid self-testing kits to be imported by individuals who are not medical practitioners, provided the kits are designed and intended for use at home by non-professionals.
No duties or taxes are to be imposed on these items. The Cabinet recognized that many families, fearing infection from a single member of a household, may wish to be tested multiple times but may not be able to afford the cost that a private medical practitioner charges, especially when all household members must test. The regulations will shortly be altered and the Customs and Excise Division is to be informed to allow the kits to enter.
The number of Covid infections is declining weekly, though the latest number is still far higher than is acceptable and achievable; in the first week of June 2021, the number of active cases was 00. In the month of January 2022, a weekly high of 751 infections has been recorded; in the last week of January 2022, a reduction to fewer than 50 persons was recorded.
The Minister of Health and Wellness continued to encourage all unvaccinated residents and citizens to protect themselves with the vaccines available, at no cost; and to obey all the protocols when in public.