The Antigua and Barbuda government has announced that it will re-open its international airport on June 1 in a bid to revive the country’s economy following the airport’s shutdown almost seven weeks ago, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The VC Bird International Airport will open to commercial traffic on June 1, 2020. A number of international carriers are expected to begin service to Antigua within days of that date,”according to the statement issued following a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
However, the government announced that certain protocols will apply, both at the time of embarkation of travellers at the source markets, and upon their arrival in Antigua.
It said the re-opening of the airport is also to accommodate “returning nationals and guests”.
However, these individuals entering the country will be subject to strict health protocols to avoid any COVID spread among the domestic population and possible community spread, the government said.
“Accordingly, all travellers will be required to take a rapid COVID test indicating that they are COVID free. Returning nationals will be quarantined for 14 days and hotels will serve as enclave properties for guests, whose interaction with employees and other locals will be limited and subject to established protocols,” the statement added.
“As we relax these restrictions, greater vigilance and continued personal responsibility are required to control any future spread of COVID.
“All citizens and residents are expected to continue to strictly observe and adhere to the health protocols of social distancing, good hygiene etiquette and the mandatory and appropriate wearing of a mask,” the Cabinet statement noted.
The Minister of Health, Molwyn Joseph, had informed the Cabinet that only two known persons are now infected with the coronavirus in the country.