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Friday 3 April Update

Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin

One more positive result was announced today at the COVID 19 press conference, bringing the total number of positives in the Cayman Islands to 29. This is a case of community transfer.

A total of 273 samples were tested and 244 were found to be negative. Of the positives so far one is fully recovered, displaying no symptoms, after two tests have come back negative. Thirteen have clinically recovered, meaning they display no symptoms but need the two tests to be completed to be declared fully recovered.

Additionally, CARPHA has corroborated 10 tests sent to their laboratory to confirm the five negative and five positive results obtained by HSA lab tests, thereby validating the lab's capability to perform accurate tests.

Also the first court case for breach of curfew was dealt with in Summary Court and the man, who pled guilty, received a four month term of imprisonment. Twenty one more cases are with the Director of Public Prosecutions Office for determination whether to be tried in Summary Court or not.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee reported:

  • There are still no changes to cases in Cayman Brac and none on Little Cayman.
  • Students who chose to be isolated at the government provided facilities are helping the authorities by undergoing a final test for the novel coronavirus at the end of their 14 day isolation period. The test is a final reassurance to the community, themselves and their families, that the young people who can present as asymptomatic are free of the virus. There are also plans to test a smaller group of around 10 essential workers who had travelled and have been isolated so they can return to work.
  • Isolation in a facility is not mandatory for a confirmed COVID-19 case.
  • Recommendations to mitigate catching the virus are the same as for avoiding non-communicable lifestyle diseases- give up smoking, regular exercise, eat healthy food.
  • Fourteen healthcare workers isolated in wake of first community case, remain isolated but are doing well.
  • One COVID-19 patient is in hospital. Others who tested positive have mild or moderate symptoms.
  • Those testing negative cannot transmit the virus to others.
  • Some people shed virus for long periods of time.
  • What is the plan for students who may test positive? Once they test positive, they will be treated on an individual basis. If family wants them at home, then they go home, situations may vary.
  • The first batch of around 35 students in isolation was tested at the end of their 14 days of isolation at government facilities. The testing is being done on a phased basis at the end of 14 days for each student.

Commissioner of Police, Mr. Derek Byrne reported:

  • First prosecution for breaking curfew completed. The man pled guilty and was sentenced today to four months imprisonment. Breaking the curfew is a serious offence as evidenced by the outcome today.
  • Twenty-one more police files are with the Director of Public Prosecution for legal ruling.
  • Move to prosecute as speedily as possible.
  • Commissioner extends hard curfew for a further 14 days commencing tonight with both Sundays becoming hard curfew days.
  • Two Sundays of 24-hour hard curfew are coming.
  • Nighttime curfew going well. During the daytime curfew people are taking liberties and police stepping up their action in this regard.
  • Little Cayman had no issues over hard curfew; Cayman Brac had four interceptions but all were exempted essential staff; Grand Cayman had 66 interceptions with one warned for prosecution for breaching curfew; also one pedestrian was stopped for breach of curfew and warned for prosecution.
  • During this morning's soft curfew: three persons in Bodden Town working on a construction site were found in breach of curfew and warned for prosecution; one person was found car-washing and similarly warned; two persons were found to be out without lawful purpose and similarly warned.

Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin said:

  • The daily global figures put the picture into perspective for the Cayman Islands.
  • USA: 265,506 total cases, with 20,629 up overnight; 6,786 deaths, up 716 overnight; Italy: 119,827 cases, up 4,585 overnight, deaths - 14,681, up 766 overnight; Spain - 117, 710 cases, up 5,645 overnight; 10,935 deaths, up 587 overnight; China: 81,620, up 31 overnight; deaths 3,322, up four overnight; France - 59,105 cases; deaths 6,507, up 1,120 overnight; UK - 38,168 cases, up 4,450 overnight, deaths - 3,605, up 684 overnight; Canada- 11,747 cases, 464 overnight; total deaths 173; Philippines - 3,018, 385 overnight, 136 deaths, 29 up overnight; India - 2,567 cases, up 24 overnight, 72 deaths; Jamaica - 47 cases, three deaths; New York State - 102,863 cases, 9,810 overnight, 2,935 deaths, up 397 overnight.
  • Cabinet just met to consider new regulations under the Public Health Regulations-and amendments to shelter in place provisions.
  • Current provisions expire on Monday-extended to coincide with hard curfew on 17 April.
  • Significant changes to the soft curfew provisions:
  • In summary:
  • New provisions will permit certain essential activity by persons based on their surname.
  • Exception is collecting food from a restaurant, medicines from pharmacy or emergency of medical care at healthcare facilities.
  • These provisions exempt essential workers of these facilities but apply only to customers or patrons.
  • Persons with surnames ending A-K are allowed to make essential trips to the supermarket, pharmacy, bank, gas stations etc. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; last names L-Z, Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays only.
  • Some banks will open on Saturday-by mutual agreement 9am-1pm.
  • Persons can still get 1 hours of exercise every day except Sunday which is now a hard curfew day.
  • Government is trying to regulate non-work related activity in order to keep the community safe.
  • "It is clear we are going to be in this for quite a while. There are going to be inconveniences."
  • Government had very useful, helpful, positive discussions with all of the private pension service providers on Thursday and is waiting a formal submission on Monday from them which will then be discussed by Cabinet and Caucus. Under consideration are a pension's holiday and whether or not employees ought to have access to some funds from their respective pension plans. Government is hoping to come to some arrangement next week.

  • Working on a virtual meeting of the legislative assembly as this will require legislative action.
  • All post offices have been closed and will remain so during the now extended soft curfew as they are not deemed essential staff.
  • Thompsons Shipping has donated two refrigerated storage containers to store HSA material exceeding their cold storage space.
  • Booklets that provide COVID-19 information will be distributed widely starting shortly.

Full details of the Attorney General, Hon Samuel Bulgin's pronouncements are given separately.

His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper said:

  • One positive announced today being linked to another positive shows strategy to isolate trace and suppress is working.
  • Refer to British Airways flight, over 150 people will leave on the flight to London. A few seats are still left; so people seeking to leave have to act quickly.
  • Also South Korea business has confirmed order for test kits and they are ready for delivery on Wednesday, arriving in the Cayman Islands as soon as possible after that.
  • Authorities are not seeking to test everyone but will have that capacity.
  • Noting the UK's contribution, RFA Argos is on the way to the Caribbean, originally for hurricane season but now will help with COVID-19 if necessary as ship has 100 medical beds and capable of providing critical care.
  • Governor will have a discussion with many UK government departments next week on security issues.

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour said:

  • Shout out to DEH collections team. Please keep making us proud.
  • Cabinet has approved for HSA as an institutional registered health facility to employ medical personnel from Cuba to increase pool of available personnel in the current crisis (under the Health Practitioners Law 2017 revision). Between 50 and100 Cubans will be brought in.
  • CIBC First Caribbean International Bank donates US$25,000 to assist with the purchase of test kits which are some of the main weapons in the arsenal against spread of disease. This will help authorities to identify, treat and isolate.

GIS

For further information contact: Bina Mani