Antigua and Barbuda questions CDC’s ‘High Risk’ categorisation

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Antigua and Barbuda is questioning its categorisation by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a “Level 3 – High Risk” destination from which travelers arriving in the US will have to quarantine. In correspondence exchanged with the headquarters of CDC, the US State Department and the Governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States, Sir Ronald Sanders, has called for
an urgent review of the “true and verifiable” conditions in the country regarding its control and prevention of COVID-19.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States, Sir Ronald Sanders

Ambassador Sanders said the facts indicate that, at worst, Antigua and Barbuda should be categorised as a “Level 1– Low Risk” destination. More accurately, he continued, Antigua and Barbuda “should be on the list of countries requiring, ‘No Travel Health Notice’, since
the COVID-19 risk is very low and the country’s performance in preventing and containing the virus is equal to many 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 including The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, the US Virgin Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Sir Ronald argued that, “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.”

He explained that Antigua and Barbuda has “neither community nor cluster spread, only sporadic cases and its situation is very stable”. “These conditions,” he said, “are verifiable by the Pan American Health Organization.” In a separate letter to New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo, the veteran diplomat said that he is aware that action has been taken based on the CDC travel advisory regarding Antigua and Barbuda’s classification as a Level 3 country, but Sir Ronald called on Governor Cuomo 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 without genuine cause”.