Health Ministry updates criteria for Quarantine release for Contacts of COVID-19 Cases)

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment has updated the criteria that will be used to release contacts of COVID-19 cases from quarantine. This decision is in keeping with the recent recommendations made by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO recommends quarantine of contacts of persons with confirmed or probable SARS CoV-2 infection for a duration of 14 days from the last interaction with the confirmed or probable case to minimize the risk of onward transmission.

WHO further recommends that persons who develop symptoms at any point in the 14-day quarantine period should be treated and managed as a suspected case of COVID-19 and tested. However, for contacts who do not develop symptoms, WHO does not recommend laboratory testing as a requirement for leaving quarantine after 14 days.

Therefore, effective immediately, the Ministry advises that contacts of COVID-19 cases in Antigua and Barbuda who remain asymptomatic, can be released from quarantine after 14 days from their last contact with the positive case WITHOUT requiring a COVID-19 test.

A COVID-19 contact is a person who has experienced any one of the following exposures during the 2 days before and the 14 days after the onset of symptoms of a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19:

  1. face-to-face contact with someone who has a confirmed or probable SARS-CoV-2 infection within 1 metre and for more than 15 minutes;
  2. direct physical contact with someone with a confirmed or probable SARS-CoV-2 infection;
  3. direct care for an individual with a confirmed or probable SARS-CoV-2 infection without using appropriate personal protective equipment.

Please note that individuals with confirmed or probable SARS CoV-2 infection will still require a negative COVID-19 test to be released from isolation.