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Wednesday, 22 April Update

Wednesday 22 April Update

There were eight negative results reported during today’s (22 April 2020) COVID-19 press briefing.

His Excellency the Governor announced a further evacuation flight to Miami will take place on Friday, 1 May and explained conversations were ongoing with four to five other regional governments regarding repatriations.

Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin stated that today’s in-person session of the Legislative Assembly had enabled, subject to approval by the Governor, a substantive virtual meeting to take place tomorrow.

Finally, the Health Minister marked the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day with a summary of initiatives underway to combat climate change in the Cayman Islands.

Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee reported:

• 8 negative results reported; 150 samples are currently being processed at the time of the press briefing and 700 results are still pending. 80 of these are being prioritised, including approximately 50 who arrived on the British Airways flight and around 30 others for clinical reasons.

• The number of persons previously reported symptomatic/asymptomatic remains the same, but those who have been suffering are all improving, including the inpatients.

• Tomorrow at 2 p.m., in a recorded session on Government’s Facebook and Twitter channels, three clinicians from HSA, Health City and Doctors Hospital will discuss and answer media questions on COVID-19: how it presents and what to do in the event of a flare up. The session will be broadcast on CIGTV at 8 p.m. in the evening, following the Legislative Assembly meeting.

Commissioner of Police, Mr. Derek Byrne reported:

• No significant issues of a policing nature overnight and crime remains stable.

• 21 interceptions occurred on Cayman Brac overnight, with two breaches reported, who have both been warned for prosecution. On Grand Cayman overnight, 231 vehicles were intercepted and no-one was found in breach; separately two pedestrians and one cyclist were stopped by police and warned for prosecution for breach of curfew.

• Since 6 a.m. today, three persons were found in breach of shelter in place rules (one was engaged in commercial activities without permission and two were out in a vehicle without lawful purpose); all three were issued with tickets.

• Speeding trucks continue to cause issues; a serious accident occurred in the eastern districts this morning. The driver is expected to recover, but has sustained serious injuries.

• Speeding has also been reported at Spotts Newlands, West Bay and on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway. Commissioner asked people to please slow down to save lives.

• All pedestrians and motorists should please exhibit courtesy on the roads, especially when close to the soft curfew’s end at dusk to protect people out exercising.

• A reminder was issued that hard curfew returns at 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. tomorrow; exercise is permitted for 90 minutes between 5.15 a.m. and 6.45 p.m. Monday-Saturday.; beaches are still in hard lockdown until Friday, 1 May.

• The RCIPS will now deliver a weekly/fortnightly update at the COVID-19 briefings. The Commissioner thanked His Excellency, the Premier and Minister for Health for their leadership during this time; the listening/viewing public for their support; communities across the Islands for their patience and understanding; the men and women of the RCIPS and colleagues at CBC, as well as the special constabulary and WORC who are working long hours to keep the Cayman Islands safe.

Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin said:

• Proceedings in the Legislative Assembly amended the Standing Order of the House to allow, subject to approval by the Governor, for virtual meetings to take place in the Legislative Assembly. The first of which will take place tomorrow and this will be broadcast live on CIGTV.

Amendments to the following Laws will be considered during this meeting, as previously announced: Traffic Law, National Pensions Law, Customs and Border Control Law and Labour Law.

In addition, the House will vote to appoint a new Deputy Speaker

• Persons who have left the Islands before 1st February are not entitled to emergency withdrawal from their pension funds under the new amendments. Persons who are planning to leave the jurisdiction must arrange access to pension funds before departing.

• The press conference scheduled for tomorrow will not take place as the LA will be in session. (See final bullet point from Dr Lee above.)

His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper said:

• Eight negatives and expanded testing are reasons to be optimistic, but results should not be expected until Friday.

• The low number of cases present in the Cayman Islands, with few persons in hospital and reporting to the flu clinic, is a sign that measures such as social distancing, closing the borders and aggressive testing, tracing and isolating is working.

• The UK is at the forefront of vaccine development; there is a reasonable chance it could be the first country to produce a vaccine.

• Another evacuation flight to Miami will take place on Friday, 1 May at 10.30 a.m. Tickets can be booked directly with Cayman Airways on 949-2311; lines will be open weekdays from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and booking opens tomorrow.

• This flight will not bring anyone in from Miami as quarantine facilities are at capacity once those arriving from London have been received.

• For passengers expecting to travel on the second British Airways air-bridge, the link to book is www.otairbridge.com/trips/london-repatriation.

• Flight to London leaves on Wednesday, 29 April at 6.05 p.m., arriving into London Heathrow on Thursday, 30 April at 11.35 a.m. with a brief stop in the Turks and Caicos Islands to collect passengers that are returning to London.

• Please call the Governor’s Office on 244-2407 if you wish to travel on this flight with a pet.

• Passengers who are returning from London to Cayman, will be contacted by the London Office, with priority travellers being contacted in the first tranche, to provide flight booking and payment details. You will be contacted later today or tomorrow if you have not yet been contacted.

• Additional evacuation flights are being organised as a matter of high priority; conversations are ongoing with at least four to five governments regionally.

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour said:

• He thanked Brasserie for providing lunch daily to Public Health staff, and also expressed gratitude to CIAA staff and their partners for their efforts during this time. He also reminded the public that Lands and Survey is open for business online.

• He appealed to the banks in terms of access arrangements on behalf of customers from East End, North Side and Bodden Town and to provide provisions against inclement weather.

• He celebrated the occasion of 50 years of Earth Day, where millions have joined forces to protect local and global environments while climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity.

• He thanked groups from both the private and public sector like the DOE, DEH, National Trust, Botanic Park, Plastic Free Cayman and the Chamber of Commerce for their efforts in this space.

• He announced recycling processing will begin again after generator issues have been resolved and power restored. The DEH has still been collecting recyclables while processing has been temporarily unavailable.

For further information contact: Caroline James