Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Antigua and Barbuda authorities announce a 24-hour curfew from 0001 April 2-April 9. Other movement restrictions in place.

This alert affects Antigua and Barbuda

This alert began 01 Apr 2020 11:15 GMT and is scheduled to expire 09 Apr 2020 21:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 9
  • Impact: Entry restrictions, internal movement restrictions, significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Antigua and Barbuda announced a 24-hour curfew that will come into effect 0001 April 2, for a seven-day period. The measure is to halt the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Residents will be confined to their homes during this period, except to purchase food and emergency supplies. Private vehicles will be restricted to two occupants only. The government has already banned all social and religious gatherings, closed schools, and announced the closure of all non-essential businesses, including bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. Emergency, health, security, telecommunications and sanitation services, as well as other critical government workers, will not be affected by the total curfew. Failure to comply with the measure will result in a fine, imprisonment, or both.

These internal measures are in addition to the closure of VC Bird International Airport (ANU) to all incoming commercial passenger flights since March 27. In addition, all sea vessels must arrive at Nevis Street Pier in St John's. Cargo transport is largely unaffected but may be subject to disruptions. The flight suspension is an escalation of the temporary entry ban for all nonresident foreign nationals who have traveled in China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, within 28 days of arrival. Departing flights for repatriation purposes will not be affected; however, the availability of such flights is likely to decrease over the coming days and weeks. It is unclear how long these restrictions will remain in place.

Background and Analysis
The measures are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic March 11.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int