Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Antigua and Barbuda to extend 24-hour curfew through at least May 13. Some restrictions eased.

This alert affects Antigua and Barbuda

This alert began 23 Apr 2020 17:37 GMT and is scheduled to expire 14 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through May 13
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions, increased security

Summary
Authorities in Antigua and Barbuda have extended the 24-hour curfew through at least 2359 May 13 as part of the continued efforts to halt the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Among the essential services and businesses that are exempt from the measure are emergency, health, security, telecommunications, and sanitation services, as well as other critical government workers. Other businesses, including grocery stores, fish markets, banks, hardware stores, landscape services, and sanitation workers, can operate between 0600-1800. Farmers may work between 0400-1800 and fishers between 0200-1800. All businesses must ensure social distancing between customers and limit the number of people within their facilities.

Residents must remain at home, except to obtain basic goods, attend an emergency, or to go to work at an essential business or service. Residents may also perform outdoor recreational activities between 0600-1800, at an open field or road, and accompanied by a maximum of one person. All residents must wear face coverings when leaving their residences. Beaches will remain closed. A ban on weddings and social gatherings continues. Residents may only use vehicles to obtain basic goods, attend a medical emergency, or go to their essential workplace between 0600-1800. No more than two people are allowed within one vehicle.

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 Saint John's. All inbound pleasure crafts, passenger vessels, and ferries will be denied entry; however, cargo transport is largely unaffected but may be subject to disruptions. 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.

The measures in place will significantly impact business and transport in the country, with an increased police presence in the streets. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

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

Antigua and Barbuda Government - Curfew Extension Order: https://ab.gov.ag/