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Published 2nd March 2020, 4:41pm

• The Ministry of Health and the Public Health Department work to protect Caymanians and residents from coronavirus (COVID-19)

• Residents with travel plans to any countries with significant transmission should avoid travel

25 February, 2020. Cabinet today issued Regulations to control the entry of persons to the Cayman Islands who have a travel history to mainland China under the Public Health Law (2002 Revision). Visitors who have been in China in the preceding fourteen days will be denied entry – which is a restriction in line with many of our regional neighbours.

Returning residents who have travelled to mainland China will be quarantined under the direction of the Medical Officer of Health. At this time this is likely to be in the traveller's home.

The Ministry of Health and the Public Health Department also issue travel advice that the public should avoid all but essential travel to mainland China until there is a measureable change in the global situation and the ban lifted.

Additionally, people travelling to countries with significant in-country transmission of COVID-19 should consider the need for the journey and whether it might be postponed or re-organised. At this time, the Ministry of Health recommends only essential travel between Cayman and the following countries because the World Health Organization reports that they have had five or more cases where exposure to COVID-19 has occurred within country:

• France

• Germany

• Hong Kong

• Iran

• Italy

• Japan

• Macau

• Republic of Korea

• Singapore

• Taiwan

• Thailand

• United Arab Emirates

• Viet Nam

Persons who have returned from this or any other area where there is a risk of COVID-19, within the last 14 days, should advise Public Health immediately if they have a cough, or fever or shortness of breath.

Minister for Health, Hon Dwayne Seymour, JP, MLA said, "As always, our first priority is to keep Caymanians and residents safe and mitigate any public health threat expeditiously.

The ban will take immediate effect and the intention of this announcement is to give clear notice to travellers, businesses and organisations that may be affected. Rest assured that border control measures to screen passengers on all flights and vessels from mainland China and for people who have been in, or transited through, mainland China in the past 14 days will be on-going.

I want to continue to remind the public to be vigilant and to assure the people of the Cayman Islands that we are prepared for this threat to global health.”

Public health officials are reminding arriving passengers, if they have symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their healthcare provider, even if arriving from countries where fewer cases have occurred.

Common symptoms of the COVID-19 infection include shortness of breath and cough, along with flu-like symptoms and fever.

Residents are being reminded to “be in the know” about COVID-19 when traveling abroad and to practice general infection control measures such as:

• frequent hand cleansing with soap and water or an alcohol based hand sanitizer

• covering nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing

• avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections, and

• avoiding unprotected contact with farm or wild animals when travelling.

The Ministry of Health, Public Health officials and the management of the Health Services Authority confirm that at this time there are no cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 in the country.

Public Health officials and the management of the Health Services Authority continues to assure the public of their capability to manage any imported cases of the coronavirus and continue to activate national contingency plans as needed.

Cabinet has also approved funding for the H.S.A. for the preparation and implementation of a coronavirus (COVID-19) treatment unit.

For further information on the coronavirus (COVID-19) please contact the Public Health Department on 244-2621 or visit https://www.hsa.ky/public-health/coronavirus/.