Health Minister Says Local Testing Should Be Available Within A Week

By Antigua News Room,

Health Minister Molwyn Joseph revealed that Antigua & Barbuda should be able to test samples locally within a week.

Currently, the Ministry of Health is awaiting the results of at least nine samples, sent off to Trinidad for testing, taken from persons suspected of having COVID-19.

Health Minister Molwyn Joseph, speaking on Observer AM Wednesday morning, April, said the availability of local testing will reduce the turnaround time to a few hours.

The Health Minister blames the delay on lack of a technician to validate testing equipment.

Joseph says the technician has now arrived in Antigua and is already at work on a PCR (polymerase chain reac- tion) machine which searches for the presence of Covid-19 in swabs taken from patients.

The next stage will be for experts from regional public health body PAHO to train local lab technicians. They are due to arrive in Antigua on Friday.

Meanwhile, Joseph says the Government’s decision to implement a seven-day lockdown of the country is based, in part, on recommendations from the technicians in the Ministry’s Epidemiology Department. These recommendations were submitted after their assessment of the spread of the virus.

Joseph says it is difficult, at this time, to determine the number of people who might have been in contact with someone who has the virus.