The new Cayman Islands coronavirus testing facility has returned its first results.
Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee reported that of the 20 samples tested, all but one was from Health City. The other was referred through the Health Service Authority.
The preliminary results have all shown negative results for the virus causing COVID-19. They will now be sent on to CARPHA for further confirmation.
The patients will remain in isolation pending confirmation of their test outcomes.
Meanwhile, Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin has announced that Cabinet has put more measures in place as efforts continue to limit and control the spread of COVID-19 in Cayman.
These measures are a mixture of financial support, advice on self-isolation and scaling back of some private sector operations.
Due to the economic impact of the virus and the measures Government are taking to constrain its spread, a one-time emergency COVID 19 stipend will be made to permanent financial assistance recipients.
This is to help them better prepare with additional provisions and medical expenses.
This one time stipend of CI $425 will be provided in addition to the $850 they currently receive monthly as their regular stipend and will be paid on 30th March 2020.
Currently, 1,025 people receive permanent financial assistance, this includes 841 seamen and 81 veterans.
The Government will also make a one-time stipend payment on 30th March 2020 to families who are currently in receipt of food vouchers to accommodate additional supplies.
Currently, Government supports 311 families with food vouchers.
Government is also expecting a doubling in the number of families currently supported and are budgeting to cover a 3 month period.
Responding to a query on Caymanians unemployed as a result of the tourism industry contraction, Premier McLaughlin said the Needs Assessment Unit (NAU) is being geared up with redeployed personnel and additional budget to process applications using means-testing which they will handle via phone or email.
Starting from midnight on Sunday 22nd March all bars will be closed and restaurants will be restricted to take out and delivery only.
In addition, all gyms, spas and public swimming pools will close as of the same date for an initial two-week period.
Regarding the need for certain segments of the population to self-isolate, Mr McLaughlin appealed to them to be responsible and voluntarily follow the prescribed guidelines.
He specifically appealed to students who have already returned from the US and some 470 students who will be returning from the UK in the next few days to not treat this as a spring break and not gather in groups big or small.
Returning residents coming off the BA flights on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday will each be provided with a messaging sheet about what they should do, notably self-isolate for 14 days, so that everyone gets the message.
The Premier emphasised that “this is a real health threat, a major threat to families and friends, but particularly older members and the most vulnerable in our community.”
Mr McLaughlin has also reassured that there is no truth in rumours of Cayman being faced with shortages.
Dismissing such rumours as 'fake news', the Premier reiterated that there is absolutely no truth that cargo ships would be stopped from bringing goods to the Islands.
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