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Friday 24 April Update

Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin

Cayman Islands leaders said they were "greatly encouraged" by the latest results - out of a 154 tests there were 4 positives with two of the four latest positive results due to connections to previous cases.

At today's, (Friday, 24 April 2020) COVID-19 press conference, they said they were encouraged that strict measures Government has put in place are seemingly working. Along with ramped up testing that is underway, the ensuing results for the next 10 days will inform and shape Government's ongoing response to the crisis.

Daily prayer was led by Pastor Chris Mason of the Pastors Association.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee reported:

  • Out of 154 tests conducted on samples obtained up to 21 April, four tested positive. Of these two had connections to previous positive cases and two were community acquired.
  • Of the 70 positives now, 33 are symptomatic, 22 asymptomatic; 6 persons are in hospital - four at Health Services Authority, and 8 recovered.
  • Dr. Lee apologised for results not yet in for those who returned on the British Airways flight 15 days ago and thanked them for their patience; these results are expected later today.
  • Doctors Hospital has now started testing.
  • Groups such as all frontline healthcare workers, the prison population and elderly in care homes are among those to be tested in phase one of the expanded testing programme. Phase two will be broader in numbers and include all persons working and facing the public daily such as supermarket, gas station, banks and social workers as well as the police. This will start soon, during which all persons on Little Cayman will be tested. Phase three will be broader in scope and could take the form of a sample testing programme which will help determine which groups could be allowed to go back to work.
  • Cayman continues to be in the suppression stage of response to COVID-19.
  • Children including babies are tested in the same way as adults.

Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin said:

  • Premier reported on the successful passage of several amendments to legislation which will empower Government to respond more effectively to the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The amendments were The National Pensions, Customs and Border Control, Labour, Immigration (Transition) and Traffic Laws.
  • Following the encouraging test outcomes announced today, if the "results continue as favourably as today's, Government can look to the possibility of easing the restrictions put in place, especially in the case of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman which have had very good results and only one positive test."
  • All educational institutions will now be closed for the rest of this academic year.
  • As the academic year is still in effect, all schools (compulsory education institutions) are expected to continue distance learning.
  • He lauded and thanked CUC for picking up the tab for purchases by all senior citizens at two supermarkets from 7-8 am one day last week and for their plan to do so similarly next week at another supermarket.
  • Government's actions such as the pension funds being available to the workforce and the $15 million stimulus to help small businesses buoyed hopes to keep businesses afloat.
  • Government cannot afford to provide financial pay-outs to all those facing job losses or terminations.
  • Once the pensions amendments become law, the pension holiday retroactive from 1 April will mean that employers and employees do not have to make pension contributions from May going forward for six months. However if some wish to, they can do so voluntarily, meaning no one (employer or employee) can be forced to make their pension contribution payments during this time.

His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper said:

  • Governor was equally "greatly encouraged" by today's test results, noting the restrictions were working and offered hope.
  • Additional testing supplies were in and more coming so that authorities were confident of having sufficient swabs and extraction kits to do more testing.
  • A second repatriation flight to Miami has been organised for 1 May as the first flight had sold out very quickly.
  • His office is also working with the Mexican Government to put on a flight to Cancun, Mexico next week to facilitate evacuation of Mexicans here. Interested person should register at Emergency Travel.
  • Also via the UK airbridge using British Airways, 57 persons will be returning to Cayman Islands on the flight next week which will also bring in more much needed extraction kits and swabs as well as a UK security team.
  • The 57 returnees will all be isolated in government- run facilities.
  • Those wishing to return to UK on the flight's return journey will be allowed to carry two pieces of luggage, each weighing 23 kgs, instead of one piece of luggage.
  • A new online travel form has been developed and access to the form will be announced on the Governor's social media posts.
  • Persons with work permit issues should not contact emergencytravel@gov.ky but should contact WORC.
  • Governor gave a shout out to the Attorney General, the Solicitor General and the Legal Drafting team for their stellar work.

Minister for Health, Hon. Dwayne Seymour said:

  • Minister Seymour gave a shout out to the health insurance industry for their dedicated service and cooperation with government entities in dealing with the health insurance issues emanating from the pandemic crisis.
  • During this health crisis it is important that insurance premiums are paid and up to date.
  • Family Planning Clinic continues to do great work during its daily operations at HSA.

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For further information contact: Bina Mani