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Saturday COVID 19 Update

Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin addresses Saturday's press conference.

Cayman Islands leaders, in a rare weekend press conference, expressed disappointment that the soft curfew that began this morning, Saturday, 28 March 2020, at 5.00 am, immediately upon the completion of the overnight lockdown, had not been going well.

Updating the nation on COVID 19 developments overnight and today, they declared that too many non-essential people were out and about in the community, in violation of the Shelter in Place (soft curfew) requirements and also paying scant heed to maintaining safe distancing from one another.

Hundreds were out sunbathing on the beaches, and thousands were zeroing in on to supermarkets for more panic buying.

If this state continues, the leaders emphasised that reverting to a 24-hour total lockdown for the foreseeable future is a distinct possibility, which would hugely inconvenience everyone in the community.

The Government's aim continues to be to reduce as much as possible community spread of the dangerous virus and minimise the possibility of fatalities in the community. World statistics continue to escalate and paint a grim picture, they emphasised.

As it currently stands, the Cayman Islands is now in a soft and hard curfew combination as Government aims to control the possibility of community spread of the novel coronavirus that is devastating many parts of the world, notably the US, Italy and Spain.

Highpoints of the update follow.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Samuel Williams- Rodriguez reported:

  • Health City is reopening for emergencies only.
  • Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin said:

    • Given the emerging grave world statistics for COVID 19, the Cayman Islands cannot believe it is out of the woods already and all need very seriously to take and follow the requirements and protocols put in place.
    • Stop the panic buying resulting in unhealthy crowds at supermarkets, which have assured that they are well stocked and able to meet demands. Do not squander money on unnecessary supplies to pile up at homes, the Premier urged.
    • Social distancing requirement of maintaining six feet from one another needs to be strictly followed if the Cayman Islands aims to keep the virus from spreading among the community.
    • For soft curfew to work, all must practise common sense. Moving about freely is a significant abuse of the privilege to move around granted by the soft curfew provisions. Hundreds sunbathing is not the plan and is not going to work.
    • Traffic cameras at one location had registered 15,000 trips in the morning and 10,000 unique vehicles out and about.
    • People have to operate as though COVID 19 is everywhere in the community and stay home as required under the Shelter in Place requirement, otherwise tightening of restriction would be brought in.
    • Law enforcement cannot be expected to be everywhere, all are requested to cooperate.
    • Even one death is one too many.

    His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper said:

    • This morning was a huge disappointment.
    • The supermarkets will remain open and there is no need to rush to them en masse.
    • Stay Home Cayman means staying put at home.
    • Do not squander the very good position that the Cayman Islands is currently facing with COVID 19.

    Health Minister Hon. Dwayne Seymour said:

  • He called on all to pledge in the next seven days to: put others before themselves; leave stress outside the home and enjoy family time at home; practise hygiene and eat the food in stock.
  • Also play board games with family members; celebrate culture; keep healthy by exercising at home and in own yards; call and talk to elderly; meditate and practise deep breathing; do not share rumours; laugh, sing, create art, pray and give thanks while staying at home.

Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne said:

  • The crime situation remained very stable and calm. There had been one serious assault reported.
  • Regarding the overnight hard curfew, Little Cayman had no issues; on Cayman Brac, 71 vehicles were intercepted and two found in breach with drivers warned for prosecution but no arrests warranted; on Grand Cayman, 66 vehicles were intercepted, five were in breach, who were warned for prosecution with no arrests.
  • The soft curfew, which started today is not going well, the present requirements for policing are neither justifiable nor sustainable.
  • It appears that people have not understood the seriousness of the situation during the soft curfew. All have to comply with its requirements and Shelter in Place, except specifically exempted as essential personnel.
  • Police will have a serious discussion with Government to decide on the way forward, given today's response to the soft curfew. The Police, Special Constables and Customs and Border Patrol personnel will be out in full for tonight's hard curfew.
  • Commissioner thanked those who complied with requirements and appealed to all others to do so.


For further information contact: Bina Mani