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Tuesday 21 April Update

Tuesday 21 April Update

There were no results reported during today’s (21 April 2020) COVID-19 press briefing.

Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee detailed who is being included in the first wave of increased testing. Meanwhile, His Excellency the Governor provided more details about the arriving military, civilian and logistics support team from the UK next week.

Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin laid out arrangements for this week’s meeting of the Legislative Assembly and addressed Caymanians living overseas. Next, the Health Minister provided an update on newly commissioned equipment at Cayman Islands’ hospitals.

All the panellists wished Ms Ethel Ebanks a happy 102nd birthday.

Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee reported:

• No new routine results today and the health status of persons reported yesterday continues to be the same.

• Machines at the Health Services Authority are undergoing scheduled maintenance and quality checks.

• The expanded testing of frontline workers has begun. The first wave of this testing includes: all current hospital admissions; all current inpatients; all frontline healthcare staff; anyone presenting with respiratory symptoms or on the recommendation of a healthcare professional; prisoners and frontline prison staff.

• The expanded testing programme will increase in due course.Flu hotline calls continue to decrease: there were 16 calls yesterday and six attendees at the flu clinic.

• He estimates 1,000 cases will be tested in the first fortnight of ramped up testing procedures

Commissioner of Police, Mr. Derek Byrne reported:

• No significant issues of a policing nature overnight.

• Ten interceptions occurred on Cayman Brac overnight, with no breaches reported. On Grand Cayman overnight, 341 vehicles were intercepted and one person was found in breach and warned for prosecution; since 6am today, there has been considerable traffic. One person was found in breach of shelter in place rules and was issued with a ticket.

• A medevac successfully took place from Little Cayman, but this was not COVID-19 related.

• A reminder was issued that hard curfew returns at 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. tomorrow; exercise is permitted between 5:15 a.m. and 6:45 p.m.; beaches are still in hard lockdown.

• Business owners with private security arrangements in place should use those systems to check in on their premises. Those owners without private security should contact the police to arrange checks.

• UK military delegation will work collaboratively with RCIPS when they arrive, as per normal pre-hurricane season procedures.

Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin said:

• The Legislative Assembly is preparing for the meeting which will begin tomorrow and continues on Thursday.

• Tomorrow’s meeting is structured to ensure compliance with social distancing: six elected members of government will be present, plus the Attorney General and Leader of the Opposition. One Opposition Member and two independent Members will also be attending and one Member of the Opposition will take the Chair.

• Tomorrow’s meeting will serve to amend standing orders, so a substantive meeting of the House can take place electronically on Thursday in order to elect a Deputy Speaker, change membership of the Business Committee and make amendments to legislation, as previously announced.

• Caymanians residing overseas were also addressed and reminded that Government is concerned about them and their welfare.

• CIGO-UK was thanked for their work, assisting Caymanians in the UK and in Europe. Examples include weekly Zoom calls, as well as interactive culinary Zoom calls offering local fare with some ingredients creatively replaced.

• He wished Ms Ethel Ebanks, many happy returns on her 102nd birthday today. He reiterated that she is well loved, and it is for people like her we must stay home and keep the community safe. He alluded to a proverb that suggests “anytime an elder dies, a library burns down” and reminded us that all lives are equally precious and valuable.

His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper said:

• The second British Airways air-bridge flight will arrive on Tuesday, 28 April and depart on Wednesday, 29 April at 6.05 p.m., with a brief stop in the Turks and Caicos Islands to collect passengers that are returning to London.

• The flight will bring extraction kits and swabs, as well as a number of Caymanians returning to the Islands.

• All those who have registered via the travel hotline will be sent a link to book tickets.

• Pets will be allowed to travel and details will be provided to those who have registered.

• As reported yesterday, the flight will also transport a small team from the UK, similar to one already deployed in TCI.

• The law and order situation is stable and the Governor has confidence in the Cayman Islands’ capacity to manage risks. But the present situation is unprecedented; this small military, civilian and logistics team will provide support, expertise and resources, to ensure we can manage risks such as curfew handling, the prison, economic and social factors.

• The team will also assist in hurricane preparedness, working with Hazard Management Cayman Islands, and coordinating with other UK assets. It will consist of medical and security planners alongside logisticians.

• This deployment is a strong signal of UK support for the Cayman Islands and the Cayman Islands defence regiment will work together closely with the new arrivals.

• Her Majesty the Queen was also wished a happy birthday.

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour said:

• He implored persons not to withdraw funds from private pensions, if it is not necessary. He listed persons such as the unemployed, or those who work in tourism, as categories with a genuine need to access their pensions.

• He applauded the ramped up testing measures.

• Laboratories in the Cayman Islands are equipped with four PCR (polymerase chain reaction) machines: three at HSA, including one new about to be commissioned, and one at Doctors’ Hospital. They also have six biosafety cabinets able to test for COVID-19 across the three hospitals, two of which are new and soon to be commissioned.

• Masks have been given to many frontline staff, including police and prison officers. The goal is for the Red Cross to make 4,000 masks, and of this total 350 were already distributed last week. Dr Lee and Red Cross volunteers were thanked for supporting this initiative.

• Masks are an added layer of protection but six-feet social distancing is still necessary. Staying at home remains the best way of protecting yourself.

For further information contact: Caroline James