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Thursday 2 April Update

Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin speaks.

A further five persons have tested positive for COVID 19 out of 15 test results received today, Thursday, 2 April 2020, it was announced at the daily press conference to provide COVID 19 updates. Additionally, one inconclusive case is now confirmed as positive.

Prayer was led by Pastor Garett Haylock of the Pastors Association.

Cayman Islands' leaders also announced the soft and hard curfews will be extended with new arrangements coming in on Monday, 6 April. In essence both the curfews will be extended for a further two weeks. Additionally, Sundays going forward will become hard curfew days for 24 hours.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee reported:

  • Of 15 results reported today, five are positive for COVID 19 and 10 are negative. Of the five positives, all within one family had direct household contact with a prior positive case.
  • Therefore, clusters of virus infections are present in the community.
  • One further positive has returned from the locally tested inconclusive case that was sent off to CARPHA for confirmation. This was a community acquired case.
  • Totals now are 28 positives, 237 negatives out of the 265 tested so far.
  • There is no change in reports for Cayman Brac, which continues at three tested and all negative, and none tested on Little Cayman.
  • Of those previously tested positive, 15 are clinically better and one remains as an inpatient at HSA.
  • Additionally, the duration of time to remain at home if one has symptoms is 14 days or longer until symptom-free. This is because there is no widespread occurrence of the infection in the community in the Cayman Islands and the Government is doing everything it can to keep numbers down.
  • Outlining monitoring of persons tested positive who are now isolation, Dr. Lee reassured the public that they are checked on a daily basis by Public Health staff, whose numbers are increased by redeployments to do surveillance for tracking and tracing cases.
  • The positive patients are all known cases and therefore allowed to self-quarantine.
  • Four new ventilators received by the HSA are already in use.
  • A large order of further personal protection equipment (PPE) is awaited.

Commissioner of Police, Mr. Derek Byrne reported:

  • On Cayman Brac, there were four interceptions during hard curfew but no breaches of curfew. On Grand Cayman, there were 125 interceptions; all were essential or exempted personnel, including food delivery persons.
  • Visiting friends is a breach of the soft curfew.
  • Each case of someone trying to find patients who tested positive and their locations will be looked at case by case to determine the exact nature of the law being broken for launching prosecutions.
  • Police Officers are investigating fake news reported today that staffers at Fosters were positive for COVID 19 in order to prosecute the perpetrator(s) of the false news.
  • All frontline officers are expected to follow strict protocols for personal safety including those requirements and memos circulated among them.
  • So far no RCIPS officer has shown any symptoms of COVID-19.

Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin said:

  • The daily global figures put the picture into perspective for the Cayman Islands.
  • USA: 235,281 total cases, with 20,728 up overnight; 5,603 deaths, up 501 overnight; Italy: 115,242 cases, up 4,668 overnight, deaths - 13,915, up 760 overnight; Spain - 110,238 cases, up 6,120 overnight; 10,096 deaths, up 709 overnight; China: 81,589, up 35 overnight; deaths 3,318, up six overnight; UK - 33,718 cases, up 4,244 overnight, deaths - 2,921, up 569 overnight; Canada- 11,068 cases, 1,337 overnight; total deaths 134, up 20 overnight; Philippines - 2,633, 322 overnight, 107 deaths, 11 up overnight; India - 2,341 cases, up 343 overnight, 68 deaths, up 10 ; Jamaica - 44 cases, three deaths; New York State - 92,381 cases, 8,480 overnight, 2,373 deaths, up 154 overnight.
  • Government is increasingly concerned about the situation in the Cayman Islands with the additional 5 positive cases, signifying evidence of widespread community transmissions.
  • However, it is still possible to contain largescale community transfer, resulting in deaths.
  • Not all understand the gravity of the true situation. Pool maintenance staff are not essential. Pools after Hurricane Ivan remained stagnant and foul smelling for many households for months but none died from that.
  • While Government is not out to curtail creature comforts, it wants the hundreds employed as pool maintenance staff to stay home and limit their human contact when they are out and about on the roads.
  • There were still too many cars on the roads.
  • Cabinet will meet tomorrow to take new decisions.
  • In advance of that, Premier revealed, the hard curfew will be continued for another two weeks.
  • The soft curfew, Shelter in Place, order that expires Monday, 6 April will also be renewed to coincide with the hard curfew in dates.
  • Also come Monday during soft curfew from 7 am to 7 pm, all surnames beginning A through K will be allowed on the road for essential purposes only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; all surnames L-Z will be allowed on the roads for essential purposes only on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays.
  • Sunday will become a hard curfew day meaning all stay put at home in lockdown, barring essential personnel.
  • These new measures are in response to too much non-essential activity on the roads and too much human interaction. Measures put in place cannot work in this backdrop.
  • On the arriving BA flight, 1,700 test kits will be landed so frontline staff who interface the most with others, have more chances of getting tested.
  • Government has placed an order, thanks to the Governor and the UK Ambassador in South Korea, for 200,000 test kits from South Korea. The hope is to get that to Cayman Islands at the earliest.
  • Regardless, social distancing is the single best tool to keep the virus' spread in check.
  • Government understands the difficulties businesses face closing for a number of weeks and some measures of relief will be announced soon.
  • For his announcements about new CBC guidelines for two segments of the population, see separate sidebars below.

His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper said:

  • It is grim to announce that COVID 19 infections worldwide have crossed the one million mark today.
  • In the other OTs, statistics are 81 positive cases in Gibraltar, 32 in Bermuda, five each in Turks and Caicos and Montserrat; three in the British Virgin Islands and two in Anguilla.
  • There are still a few seats left for those who wish to leave on the BA flight on Tuesday. Call 244-3333. But no pets are allowed on that flight.
  • All others seeking to leave to other destinations are also asked to call 244-3333 so that his office gets a better handle on numbers.
  • For full details about the Governor's statements, visit his Facebook page.

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour's pronouncements follow as a separate release.

Sidebar: CBC measures for fishing vessels that returned to Cayman

The Customs and Border Control Service (CBC) would like to inform the public that the fishing vessels that had cleared outbound prior to the imposition of the travel restrictions and curfew will be cleared inbound with the following stipulations:

  1. The crew would have to self-isolate on board the vessel for 14 days, as per public health and Port Authority Protocols.

  2. the vessels would remain in/off the GT Harbour until the expiry of the self-isolation period, as per port Authority Protocols.
  3. Wholesalers, grocery stores and restaurants would be permitted to purchase and collect seafood from the vessels providing the necessary social distancing protocols are strictly followed.
  4. No sale of the seafood is permitted to direct to consumers.
  5. With immediate effect, until further notice and in keeping with government's policy, local fishing vessels would not be allowed to depart Cayman for the high seas or for another country and if they did so, it would with the understanding that our ports are closed and they may not be permitted re-entry while the restrictions are in place.

Sidebar:Collection of Air Cargo from Customs and Border Control

The Customs and Border Control Service (CBC) would like to inform businesses and individuals, who wish to clear and collect their cargo that arrived by air before or during the COVID-19 public health emergency, to please contact 244-4959 or email Customs Online Support for an exemption letter to complete their transaction.

Persons are reminded to use the online COLS portal to submit their entry declarations. For those that have already received a release to collect air cargo from CBC, please contact them at the above-mentioned phone number or email address for an exemption letter.

Until further notice, no storage fees will be charged for imports that arrived 7 days prior to and during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

To accommodate the collection of cargo, CBC's Transit Shed (warehouse) will be open from 8:30am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday and 8:30am to 12:30pm on Saturday. Importers are reminded of the daily soft curfew hours, 5:01am to 7pm.

For official government statements on COVID-19 measures, please visit www.gov.ky/coronavirus or www.cbc.gov.ky and look for the Coronavirus Update page under the Travel tab.

GIS

For further information contact: Bina Mani