Cayman Islands COVID 19 Update
Government Press Office – Cayman Islands leaders were cautiously upbeat about the nation’s ability to beat the spread of COVID-19 within the community, provided the community fully cooperates with the continuing hard and soft curfew measures.
At today’s, Tuesday, 7 April 2020, press conference, prayers were led by Pastor Shawn Knight of the Pastors’ Association. Cayman’s leaders noted that even with six new positives, it was clear that measures put in place have the potential to work if the curfews continue for a few weeks.
Only a strict continuation of this method, combined with vital social distancing and preventive measures such as frequent hand washing, will allow the virus to burn out instead of spreading widely in the community.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Lee reported:
- Of 114 results, there are six positives. Four returned students in government isolation tested positive, while two other cases got the virus through contact with other positives.
- The four positive students continue to be in isolation at the facility.
- Of the 75 returned students tested so far, 71 tested negative and four have tested positive.
- Also, two positives are being treated in hospital, 21 remain symptomatic and recovering at home, two are clinically recovered (meaning require more testing to be declared recovered) and six are fully recovered.
- On Cayman Brac, one is positive and 16 negative for the virus.
- So far, 4,214 people have accessed the ‘flu hotline.
- Persons who returned from London on the BA flight yesterday will be isolated for 14 days and will then be tested.
Commissioner of Police, Mr. Derek Byrne reported:
- Police faced a very quiet night during hard curfew, with little crime or issues to report.
- During last night’s hard curfew from 7 pm to 5 am, Little Cayman had no issues; there were 21 interceptions on Cayman Brac with no breaches of curfew; on Grand Cayman, there were 109 interceptions with no breaches as all were essential personnel.
- From 6 am today during soft curfew, two persons were found in breach for conducting commercial work without exemption and warned for prosecution.
- Speeding dump trucks were causing concern. If police receive information and visual footage, they will investigate.
- People can do yard work in their own yards.
- Commissioner confirmed that one person has been arrested this morning in relation to the voicenote that was circulating about HE The Governor, that person has been taken into custody and is housed at the Police Detention Centre for police interviews.
Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin said:
- World statistics continue to be alarming in many countries. China has reported no deaths overnight. (For full details about the statistics, see separate sidebar.)
- Premier heartily thanked all those complying with all the measures put in place. Their understanding and cooperation were helping.
- The positive test results for returned students received vindicate the need to strictly isolate them, even though they and their families were inconvenienced.
- Government was erring on the side of caution and keeping them in isolation until their next test turned out negative.
- Since Cayman Islands’ borders were closed on 16 March, there has been some evidence of community transmission seen in clusters.
- This proves if the community remains vigilant, practises protocols such as social distancing and staying home unless essential, the spread in the community is minimised.
- Government will keep restrictions in place for likely four more weeks. New Zealand was one such example which due to strict enforcement has seen very few cases and fewer deaths, given the size of its population. It is do-able in Cayman also.
- Government has no law to prevent landlords from evicting tenants who do not pay rent. It is difficult to generalise that all landlords or all tenants are behaving unreasonably. He called on all to be patient and be as reasonable as possible in their dealings.
- Cabinet will take a decision about how long to further extend the closing of the Cayman Islands’ borders; one date suggested is 31 May.
- A report from pension providers has been received and will be examined shortly regarding pension holidays or the ability to access pension funds. A workable plan is being looked at to hold a meeting of the legislature to pass required amendments to existing laws.
- There is no last name restriction for exercising. Measures such as social distancing, and keeping within the permitted time from 6 am to 6 pm for exercising outside the home precincts must be followed strictly. Police are out enforcing this measure.
- The one death reported in a sister Overseas Territory, Turks and Caicos, is a young man, the brother of an MP there and whose death has shaken that community.
His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper said:
- The BA flight had successfully departed this morning, signifying the success of the airbridge between UK and the Cayman Islands.
- He thanked his office staff and other personnel in government and at the Cayman Islands Government Office in London for making the flight a success.
- The crew had been in strict isolation, with all protocols strictly followed.
- All passengers who disembarked are also in complete quarantine for 14 days.
- Further such flights, if there is a demand, could be attempted again. His office could help with diplomatic requirements to facilitate.
- He thanked the community for its compliance with the strictures put in place.
- He also thanked teachers, the providers of daily meals to vulnerable children studying at home, the staff at the University College of the Cayman Islands for ensuring 1,200 students would complete their semester despite the campus closing as well as the sign language interpreter at daily press conferences, Lighthouse School teacher, Ms Carolyn Powell.
- Private sector entities have made welcome offers of helping the community and these will be explored.
Minister for Health, Hon. Dwayne Seymour said:
- Minister added his voice in thanks to all working hard to suppress the virus in the Cayman Islands.
- He encouraged persons to don homemade or DIY masks. Surgical and medical masks should be left for medical personnel to use. Worldwide there have been over 100 doctors and nurses who have died after being in the frontline of providing treatment to affected persons.
- He said the lines at banks remained too long and asked banks to open at more locations to cut down the crowds in one location.
- He highlighted that WHO has designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. Additionally, today is designated World Health Day. (For his full remarks, please see https://bit.ly/2wjS5aW).