As much as the lab is testing for Covid-19, I must tell you that quarantine is just as important, or, in some cases, more important than testing.
Sounds like heresy? No.
The word quarantine comes from quarantena, meaning “forty days”, used in the 14th–15th-century Venetian period and designating the period that all ships were required to be isolated before passengers and crew could go ashore during the Black Death plague epidemic.
According to WHO, “Quarantine means the restriction of activities and/or separation from others of suspect persons who are not ill in such a manner as to prevent the possible spread of infection or contamination”
Quarantine is distinctly separate and different from isolation, which specifically refers to the isolation of subjects who test positive for Covid-19 by the PCR test.
In the absence of a PCR test, the clinical signs and symptoms of the subject may dictate isolation.
WHO also says: “There are two scenarios in which quarantine may be implemented:
(1) For travelers from areas with community transmission and
(2) For contacts of known cases.”
A negative PCR test for covid-19 does say you are negative; but only negative “at the time your sample was taken”.
- You can contract Covid-19 after your sample was taken for the PCR test and before you travel and arrive in Antigua and Barbuda.
- You may be at an early stage of Covid-19 infection when your sample was taken and hence too early for the PCR test to be positive.
Surprise, surprise: No test is 100 per cent perfect. Not even the gold standard PCR test for Covid-19.
- You may really have Covid-19 but your PCR sample was poorly taken or poorly handled by the lab. A poor sample or a lab error is unlikely in experienced hands but “things happen”.
And so, regardless of your negative PCR test on arrival, particularly from a place with a high infection rate, quarantine is absolutely necessary.
Some previously negative clients can test positive during quarantine, whether or not they have signs or symptoms of Covid-19.
The 14-day quarantine procedures apply even when you are quarantining at home. Indeed, home may be particularly dangerous in this regard.
If you let your guard down during your quarantine period at home, you can consequently let down your family, friends and everyone else.
Kindly follow the quarantine rules and guidelines.
It’s not worth it to do otherwise.
It’s only 14 days; not 40-days and 40-nights.