As countries around the region set dates for the resumption of cruise ship travel to the islands, Antigua and Barbuda’s government took a decision at yesterday’s cabinet meeting to review a series of proposals on how they can be ready to accept ships safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
The cabinet received an update from the Chief Medical Officer and the Ministry of Health on what could be done to ensure the safety of all locals and visitors.
One proposal was the training and vaccination of everyone who will be exposed to tourists.
Another discussion item was an insurance program to cover the treatment of tourists, who fall ill, at the Mount St John Medical Centre. This proposal will also see cruise liners enter into arrangements with hotels should a spouse or partner of a sick passenger wish to remain in Antigua.
Cruise lines announced recently that they will only ferry fully vaccinated passengers.
Persons leaving the US must test negative for coronavirus before they are allowed to disembark in Antigua.
Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism Charles Fernandez reported that one US airline is willing to increase its flights to Antigua each week.
The cabinet note said: “The bookings have begun to increase, and the carrier is seeking to maximize its return at this time, he reported. The carrier is also expecting LIAT to begin flying, and seeks to make the regional carrier an integral part of its future.”
It noted an Irish airline is also moving to complete an agreement with Antigua open the island to a new market.
The Ministries of Tourism, Health and Aviation are working to develop a system that will allow them to obtain official certification on a passenger’s vaccination status.