Wednesday, 13 May Update
With encouraging results from ongoing screenings of frontline staff continuing now, Cayman Islands' leaders state that further relaxation to restrictions will be announced to start from next week to increase opening up of the community.
However, individual protocols such as handwashing, mask wearing in public places and maintaining social distancing will continue.
Prayer today was led by Rev. Rohan Forrester.
Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee reported:
- One positive case, acquired through community transmission, is reported from 329 results today, of which 24 were from Doctors Hospital. This underscores that COVID-19 is in the community.
- 98 persons are in government isolation and 100 in Public Health mandated community isolation.
- 'Flu clinic saw 12 persons in the previous 24 hours and the 'flu hotline had 26 calls.
- Age range for positive cases remains at between 14 and 85.
Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin said:
- Screening results continue to provide cause for optimism concerning COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands. Nevertheless, the continued occurrence of positive cases shows that the virus exists within the community, with most cases asymptomatic.
- The fact that positives during the screenings are asymptomatic reveals that Government's strategy of keeping it away from the vulnerable and elderly is working and needs to remain in place. The strategy continues to be to eliminate the community transmission of the virus.
- The next phase of relaxation of restrictions hopefully starts next week Tuesday, 19 May. Details will be announced at the press briefing on Friday.
- Until then, all current restrictions must be followed to avoid prosecution by the Police.
- The main industry that will be part of the next phase of the re-opening of the economy is the development and construction industry which has some 1,900 entities.
- Cayman Islands' response to COVID-19 has not breached human rights and has been carefully coordinated.
- All persons, regardless of age, have the fundamental right to life in the Cayman Islands. This right applies to young and old alike.
- Government's response to COVID-19 has borne, and will continue to bear, this right firmly in mind as the primary consideration in all its actions.
- Premier read out a letter from the Cayman Islands Legal Practitioners Association (CILPA) supporting Government's actions. See sidebar below.
His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper said:
- Governor evinced "cautious optimism" about the current state of COVID-19 in the community and lauded the Premier and his team for this and the huge amount of work that goes on behind the scene.
- Evacuation flights for Indians and Filipinos will be announced shortly.
- Two flights to Miami on Friday have still a few seats available, which can be booked with Cayman Airways directly either through their website or by calling 949-2311.
- 8 persons will return to Cayman on one of those flights and will be sent to government run isolation.
- In relation to the Defence Regiment, paused by the COVID-19 crisis, five junior officers will go to Sandhurst in the UK for military training, early next month. 50 part-time reservists will be recruited with help from the visiting security team in the Cayman Islands now. These will help with the management of the current COVID-19 crisis and in the coming hurricane season, for which the Defence Regiment was primarily established.
- He also noted that working from home for large segments of the Civil Service is functioning well and could be considered going forward, which will reduce traffic congestion.
- He gave a shout out to the longest serving female police officer in RCIPS, Police Constable Marina Conolly with 38 years' service.
Health Minister Hon. Dwayne Seymour said:
- Gratitude goes to nurses and midwives in the community during 2020 designated by the WHO as their year.
- 12 May was International Nurses Day and Cayman Islands' over 500 nurses deserve to be celebrated. See sidebar below for Minister's full remarks.
- Regarding musicians' stipend, a register of interested persons has been finalised with over 200 names. All will be emailed a one-page form to help with the final vetting and payment process. The form can also be accessed on www.ministryofhealth.gov.ky or can be picked up as a hard copy from the Government Administration Building staff entrance security desk.
- The Ministry is aiming to effect payment to all approved submissions by the end of May "We understand these are difficult times and we sincerely appreciate patience in this regard as we strive to makes these payments with urgency."
- The Ministry is also pursuing a temporary means for assistance with health insurance payments for qualified persons. Persons who may not have been able to pay their April health insurance premiums and in need of assistance should respond by 22 May on the application form that is available, with additional information, on www.dhrs.gov.ky or by emailing HIC. Additional locations for collection of the forms will also be announced shortly.
Commissioner of Police, Mr. Derek Byrne reminds public that:
- With the easing of curfew restrictions in Little Cayman and Cayman Brac last week the following curfew restrictions remain in place until 15 May 2020 at 5am.
- Soft curfew or Shelter in Place Regulations on Grand Cayman remain in operation between the hours of 5am and 8pm daily Monday to Saturday.
- Hard Curfew or full lockdown, save for exempted essential services personnel remains in operation on Cayman Brac between the hours of 8pm and 5am nightly Monday to Sunday inclusive. On Grand Cayman, it is hard curfew between the hours of 8pm and 5am nightly Monday to Sunday inclusive and 24-hour hard curfew on Sunday - from midnight Saturday to midnight Sunday.
- Exercise periods not exceeding 90 minutes are permitted between the hours of 5.15am and 7pm daily Monday to Saturday. No exercise periods are permitted on Sunday during the period of curfew. This relates to Grand Cayman only as these restrictions have been removed in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
- A full 24-hour hard curfew as it relates to Beach Access to Public Beaches on Grand Cayman remains in place through to Friday, 15 May at 5am. This means no access to public beaches on GC at any time until Friday 15 May at 5am. This prohibits any person from entering, walking, swimming, snorkeling, fishing or engaging in any type of marine activity on any public beach on Grand Cayman. This restriction is removed from Cayman Brac effective Thursday, 7 May evening.
- A breach of a hard curfew order is a criminal offence carrying a penalty of $3,000 KYD and imprisonment for one year, or both.
Sidebar 1: Premier Reveals Support from Lawyers Association
Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin read out a letter he has received from CILPA supporting the actions he and Government have taken during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
"Dear Hon. AG and Hon. Premier,
I trust that you and your families are well in these challenging times.
The Premier's remarks re attorneys in today's press briefing were noted by a number of attorneys.
I want to assure you that the legal profession is supportive of the Government's handling of this crisis to date. CILPA has been working in partnership with the Ministry to support the jurisdiction through this difficult period. That work has included drafting proposed new legislation to support Cayman's economic recovery, drafting guidelines for reopening of the legal sector in due course, and engaging with the Ministry on these and other important matters on a daily basis.
As you know, individual attorneys will have their personal views. Those views may well differ from CILPAs, and from the shared view of the majority of attorneys. As the representative body for the vast majority of attorneys, CILPA makes no criticism of the Government's handling of the current crisis. We will continue to support Cayman's recovery in any way possible and will continue to work with the Government to advance our shared goal of a broad and sustained economic recovery for these Islands.
If it would be helpful to speak on this at any point please let me know.
Sidebar 2: Minister Seymour Celebrates Nurses, Midwives
"As I mentioned last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, and on behalf of my Cabinet colleagues and the people of the Cayman Islands I again extend our collective gratitude to all those who serve these islands in this noble profession.
Today we recognise 208 nurses at the Health Services Authority and another nearly 300 in the private sector. This year has given us even more reasons to celebrate the nursing profession as they work on the frontlines during this pandemic.
Yesterday, May 12th, marked International Nurses Day, celebrating the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birthday, a woman who founded the modern field of nursing. Some of our own Caymanian nurses have made such a great impact on our islands - I can think of a few who have been honoured by the Queen for their contributions to the medical field here.
It should be noted that this is the first time the WHO has designated a year for a single professional group signifying their essential role in the health and well-being of our population and the inextricable link between health, national development and economic sustainability. I have quoted the famous Roman poet Virgil before, but it seems fitting to say it again as truly this year, we have been reminded more than ever that "the greatest wealth is health".
This country and our people owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the men and women who have served in various capacities throughout every generation, from the early pioneers to the many dedicated and diverse professionals who now make up the profession and provide care in a variety of settings in the Cayman Islands, with one shared objective…to provide the best healthcare to every single person on these islands.
All of us have been touched by the comfort and reassurance that nurses provide as they have been with us from birth and will be throughout our lives, caring for our health.
Nursing is a profession that never sleeps. They work around the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. During this COVID-19 crisis they are working long shifts while wearing hot, heavy P-P-E, and in some cases, isolating themselves from home, an added sacrifice to keep their loved ones safe.
They are making sacrifices everyday by showing up at work and putting themselves on the frontline…it is truly a selfless and honourable profession and those who are called to it are the heroes amongst us.
The field of nursing is one in great need around the globe and especially here at home. I am pleased with the Nursing program at the University College of the Cayman Islands to provide career opportunities for Caymanians pursuing a nursing career. This program is essential to ensure the sustainability of our healthcare system with the next generation of young Caymanian nurses to care for our country.
I encourage everyone in our community to find an opportunity and in your own unique way, to show appreciation to these dedicated nurses.
I salute and thank all nurses and midwives, whether in the public or private sector for your commitment to these islands and the years of devotion in caring for our people. Congratulations to you on a well-deserved recognition this year, dedicated in your honour and I wish for all of you a long and successful career in this your chosen profession."
For further information contact: Bina Mani