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Analysis of passenger arrivals needed

Local News 19 Oct, 2020 1 Comments Follow News

Analysis of passenger arrivals needed

There's been a noticeable uptick of positive outcomes from COVID-19 tests carried out since Monday.

In order to maintain low levels of positive cases, a better understanding of the source of these new infections, additional details are required in addition to the dashboard.

Out of a total 1,720 tests reported between Monday and Friday, 12 were found to be positive; eight from Friday and four from Wednesday.

All were travellers who tested positive as part of intensified screening under the new travel protocols.

Health officials say they are a mixture of people at the end of their quarantine and those arriving.

To date 233 cases have been recorded in Cayman from 43,506 tests, and 212 have recovered.

The opening of the borders, although limited and with strict controls, still presents the likelihood of persons coming into the territory asymptomatic with the virus despite the rigid pre-travel and arrival screenings.

Presently flights are mainly from the United States, the United Kingdom and Jamaica - locations where the virus has surged recently and where varying levels of heightened restrictions have been reintroduced.

Border controls have also been intensified with heavy emphasis on collecting and reporting in-depth data on the profile of travellers; whether they are nationals, vacationers, students, workers or persons on business or other approved reasons for travelling.

Around the world, trends are now generally pointing to a resurgence of the virus or a 'second wave' coinciding with the winter season in many countries with its global knock-on effects for enabling the spreading of the pandemic.

Governments are forced to walk the tightrope of balancing the competing priorities of public health and the economy.

One of the main challenges in the battle against COVID-19 is the rise of conspiracy theories and the spreading of rumours, especially via popular but still largely unregulated personal and group social media channels.

Whether for kicks or contrived conspiracy, such actions risk undermining the competing objectives that governments are grappling with; saving lives and safeguarding their economies.

Despite the laudable efforts of the global technology conglomerates which own these platforms, clamping down on what is part coordinated disinformation and part pranks and mischief is still not 100% editorially foolproof.

While the search for vaccines continues - and with encouraging official information in that direction - one key tool that is being deployed by governments and the medical profession is official data.

In that context, the timely dissemination of official information is a vital in combating the virus and managing the pandemic.

Here in Cayman, official COVID-19 press conferences are now irregular bordering on sporadic, except for impromptu sessions in response specific major developments.

Such a situation occurred in the case of a student at Red Bay Primary School contracting the virus which led to a flurry of activity to minimise the risk of the virus spreading as a result.

While the contact tracing to determine where and how the affected student might have originally contracted the virus, the increasing numbers of cases involving travellers raises other issues.

As has been proven, the absence of detailed information or the provision of sketchy data are themselves potential breeding grounds for rumour and conjecture.

In an era where social media - despite the challenges with regulating it - has revolutionised communication, proactive detailed updates and open communication is the best defence against rumour and conjecture.

At a point where countries have almost no alternative but to cautiously reopen their economies following the recent lockdowns and their crippling economic consequences, such efforts run the risk of being derailed due to the lack of adequate and detailed updates.

Valuable time, effort and energy spent on reacting to rumours could be better used by proactively being 'ahead of the game' keeping the public fully informed with timely updates.

Details...not just dashboard.

Comments (1)

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20 Oct, 2020

Well said!