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Antigua’s ambassador calls for review of ‘high-risk’ label

Antigua’s ambassador calls for review of ‘high-risk’ label
Sir Ronald Sanders (FILE)

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Washington – Antigua and Barbuda Monday questioned its categorisation by the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a “Level 3 – High Risk” destination from which travellers arriving in the United States would have to go into quarantine.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States, Sir Ronald Sanders, in letters to the CDC, the US State Department and the Governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, called for an urgent review of the “true and verifiable” conditions in the country regarding its control and prevention of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The diplomat said that the facts would indicate that, at worst, Antigua and Barbuda should be categorised as a “Level 1– Low Risk” destination and  more accurately, the Caribbean island “should be on the list of countries requiring, ‘No Travel Health Notice”, since the COVID-19 risk is very low.

He argued that the country’s performance in preventing and containing the virus “is equal to many of the countries, and better than others, that require no travel health cautions”.

The CDC travel advisory has included Antigua and Barbuda as “high-risk”, along with another 200 countries, including Canada, many throughout Europe, and the Caribbean such as The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, BVI, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, the US Virgin Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago.

“Antigua and Barbuda experienced its first laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19 on March 13, 2020, and since then until today, October 5, 2020, there have been only 3 deaths and 107 confirmed cases”.

Sir Ronald also explained that Antigua and Barbuda has “neither community nor cluster spread, only sporadic cases and its situation is very stable”, adding “these conditions are verifiable by the Pan-American Health Organisation”.

In his separate letter to Cuomo, the veteran diplomat said that he was aware that action was taken based on the CDC travel advisory to regard Antigua and Barbuda as a Level 3 country.

But Sir Ronald is calling on the Governor to have his own health officials “review the categorisation of Antigua and Barbuda which is affecting the people of New York State and Antigua and Barbuda’s without genuine cause”. (CMC)