COVID-19 Testing Protocol Update

Effective June 27 2022, RT-PCR tests will no longer be required for confirmation of COVID-19 disease in persons who test positive by an approved rapid antigen test.

This new update on the COVID-19 Testing Protocol released from the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment is based on Antigua and Barbuda’s current COVID-19 epidemiological situation, in addition to recommendations from the Pan America Health Organization’s (PAHO) Epidemiological Alert on the Rational Use of COVID-19 Diagnostic tests and the Caribbean Epidemiology Center’s (CARPHA) Interim Guidance for the Selection of Diagnostic Tests for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Infection.

There still remains, however, situations in which RT-PCR should be used:
a) When there is a negative rapid antigen test result in a person with a high suspicion of COVID-19 disease.

For example:
i. Persons who are suspected or probable COVID-19 cases of COVID-19
ii. Close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases.
iii. Inconclusive rapid antigen tests

b) All cases that require hospitalization due to respiratory symptoms.

c) All persons requiring hospital admissions.

The Ministry of Health reminds all health care providers that COVID-19 has been declared a dangerous infectious disease.

Therefore, it is a legal requirement that all cases are reported to the Ministry of Health Wellness and the Environment’s Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit at .

Failure to do so can result in fines in accordance with the Public Health Act (6).

Approved SARS CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Diagnostic Tests :

  1. Panbio COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test Device Abbott Rapid Diagnostics Jena GmbH
  2. Standard Q COVID-19 Ag Test SD Biosensor, Inc
  3. BD Veritor System for Detection of SARS-CoV-2 Becton, Dickson and Company (BD)
  4. BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Abbott Diagnostic Scarborough, Inc.