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COVID-19 STILL “SMOULDERING” IN CAYMAN

Front Pages 14 May, 2020 Follow News

COVID-19 STILL “SMOULDERING” IN CAYMAN

COVID-19 STILL “SMOULDERING” IN CAYMAN

A further 329 COVID-19 test results were reported on Wednesday of which only one was positive.

That brings the number of coronavirus cases which have been recorded in the Cayman Islands to 86 since the disease first showed up here earlier this year.

Of that eight are persons who had displayed flu-like symptoms associated with the virus while 21 are asymptomatic - not showing any symptoms - which itself is a growing cause of concern.

There are presently two hospital admissions and to date, 54 people have recovered from the disease.

Nineteen persons are in isolation in government-controlled facilities while 100 are home isolating.

The health authorities in Cayman are aiming for between 400 and 450 tests daily.

Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee reported that there is concern about the continuing positive results despite the borders being closed, even though the number of cases is now at a lower rate than previously.

He attributed this in part to the volume of testing now being carried out but noted that persons being tested positive are being “ring-fenced” from the rest of the community via aggressive contact tracing.

Dr Lee described the current state of the virus in Cayman as “smouldering” - as opposed to a being a full-blown outbreak.

The CMO said the authorities in Cayman had “thrown a lot of resources" including funding into the fight against the virus and felt that it was “going incredibly well”.

NEXT PHASE OF ‘UNLOCK’ COMING

The ongoing testing has been described as crucial in determining the pace at which the lockdown is further lifted.

Hon. Premier Alden McLaughlin said an announcement could be expected by this Friday about the next stage of the 5-step unlocking of the economy in a phased return to normal business and public activity, especially on the Grand Cayman.

Some details could also be forthcoming by then on the economic recovery plan which has been in preparation over the past several weeks.

Mr McLaughlin also said the current curfew procedures, especially the Sunday all-day hard curfew and the closure of public beaches are also being reviewed, although he stopped short of venturing into details.

The current restrictions end on Friday.

With this weekend being a long bank holiday, the Premier indicated that any changes forthcoming will most likely come into effect from Tuesday of next week with Grand Cayman likely to see more restrictions lifted, bringing it down to Level 3.

The main island is presently at Level 4 for the past two weeks while Little Cayman was recently stepped down to Level 3 and consideration is being given to scale down Cayman Brac which is also at Level 4.

CONSTRUCTION CONSULTATIONS

Premier McLaughlin said consultations are being carried out with the construction and development industry which is expected to be the next sector of the economy to be unlocked.

According to the Premier, that is dependent on the outcome of risk assessment including COVID-19 testing of employees.

One of the main challenges is the large number of companies registered in construction, development and home depot sector which he said numbered around 1,900 employing between 8,000 and 9,000 workers.

Managing how they are released back into the work environment needs to be coordinated in line with the COVID-19 testing.

Further relaxing of the restrictions and the gradual reopening of the economy is conditional on the outcome of the testing programme, according to Premier McLaughlin.

“So far no country in the world has successfully reopened and has not had to back up,” he said, in reference to other countries including Germany and South Korea which have prematurely relaxed restrictions only to see a resurgence of the virus forcing them to reimpose their lockdown.

The Premier said Cayman wants to avoid that and was ideally aiming for around 10,000 tests to be able to determine how to organise the further loosening up of the lockdown over time.


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