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MASK-WEARING REQUIREMENT RELAXED

Local News 25 Aug, 2020 Follow News

MASK-WEARING REQUIREMENT RELAXED

MASK-WEARING REQUIREMENT RELAXED

The requirement to wear masks in public is being relaxed in Cayman.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr John Lee said with Cayman having screened around half of the population and no evidence found of COVID-19 spreading in the community, the regulations on mask-wearing and social distancing are now being eased.

He described as “a really great place to be”.

“It’s only with the public co-operation that we’ve been able to burn the virus out,” the CMO stated.

While wearing a mask is now not an absolute requirement, Dr Lee however advised that “people wishing to wear a mask can choose to do so and should particularly consider doing so when you are interacting with the elderly and vulnerable.”

He said there are certain conditions in which masks might be mandated “such as on public transport and in certain establishments such a prisons airports, care homes and healthcare facilities.”

Employers may choose to request their staff to wear masks and other PPE equipment but cannot refuse a person entry if they are not wearing a mask.

Regarding children wearing masks, an issue around which there has been some discussion, Dr Lee announced that the regulations have now been changed.

“I now feel free to say that I don’t believe children under 10 should have to ear a mask in counterspies where COVID is well controlled and that includes Cayman.”

Reporting on the latest COVID-19 PCR test results, the CMO said of the 216 tests done in the last 24 hours all returned negative.

Two people who were recently confirmed as COVID-19 positive remain in isolation. In all, the number of cases which have been confirmed in Cayman remains at 205 of which 202 have recovered.

There are 147 persons being monitored in government isolation.

Meanwhile, antibody testing continues with 2,402 of 3.7% of the population tested. Of that number, 58 persons have shown antibodies, 37 are people who are known to have been positive for the virus, six are people who are known to have had contact with previous COVID-positive persons, seven have had a travel history, and nine have no history identified.

Speaking on the extensive testing being done in Cayman, Dr Lee noted that the territory continues to maintain its strong position in the global response to the disease.

“Cayman is not the same as many other countries when we report these figures because we know that we have screened the equivalent of 50% of the population which not, many other countries in the world are able to say."

He said this means that "we can be more confident with the results when we present them to you."

The relaxation on wearing masks in public comes as more of the general suppression measures are being rolled back, although Cayman will remain at Level 2 Suppression until September 30th.

Commenting on the new set of relaxed measures as a step closer to normality, the CMO reminded that the COVID threat was still hovering.

“We’ve released almost all of the restrictions and the gatherings have gone up to 250 persons,” Dr Lee said.

But he added: “I guess that reflects our reluctance to say we are absolutely free. That tiny threat is still there."

In addition to mask-wearing now being more optional in many situations, other restrictions being lifted include the number of persons gathering for a variety of specific purposes, including on boats, moving from 50 to 250.

Travel between the islands has also been loosed up further.

Anyone can now travel between by air or boat without being tested for the virus on condition that they've been in the jurisdiction for at least 14 days prior to the date of travel.

They must also not be showing any respiratory symptoms or symptoms of the virus.

A person who has been in the jurisdiction for less than two weeks is must obtain official permission within two days before travelling, plus have a negative COVID-19 test.

Fines of up to CI$1,000 and a prison sentence can be imposed

Links to the new regulations:

(PARTIAL LIFTING OF GENERAL RESTRICTIONS)

http://gazettes.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/13000490.PDF

(PARTIAL LIFTING OF RESTRICTIONS FOR TRAVEL AND BOATING)

http://gazettes.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/13000492.PDF


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