Having declared the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) a world health emergency, the World Health Organisation has issued some basic steps that everyone should be following to ensure they stay healthy. Thankfully there have been no reported cases of the virus in the Cayman Islands, but this is a fluid situation and, with high volumes of travel to and from Cayman both by air and by sea, we should not be complacent. Following basic hygiene rules is the smart way to prevent any type of cold or flu virus from spreading. This means frequently washing your hands with soap, especially before, during and after preparing food. Wash your hands before you eat and always wash your hands after going to the toilet. Wash your hands when they look dirty and after handling animal waste. Prevent sneezes or coughs from spreading germs by using a tissue or the crook of your elbow. Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth, because in doing so you can touch contaminated surfaces with your fingers and them transfer any infection you may pick up directly to yourself. If you have a cough, fever or difficulty breathing, let your healthcare provider know straight away and avoid close contact with other people. If you have not travelled to China recently, or you have not been in contact with someone who has, chances are you have a regular cold or flu as we are currently in flu season right now.
Government is taking this world health emergency very seriously, with a separate flu clinic planned at the Health Services Authority, travel history screening of people arriving into Cayman by air and signage put up at the airport to tell people what to do and where to go if they feel as if they have a flu infection.
Recent stories have circulated with regard to at least ten (at the time of writing) cruise ship passengers testing positive for the 2019-nCoV in Japan. Given the thousands of cruise ship visitors who alight in Cayman each month, the authorities here are taking proactive steps to ensure that the Cayman public is protected, should a cruise visitor here be infected. At a press conference on Monday, Customs and Border Control Deputy Director Gary Wong said that it was mandated that masters of vessels had to report to the authorities anyone they see who maybe sick or coming from a country that may have the 2019-nCoV. A health declaration form must be completed before a vessel arrives, giving authorities information on people they suspect maybe sick, he confirmed.
It’s up to all of us to try and stay healthy, and keep those around us healthy.