Following discussions with Cabinet on March 3rd, the Deputy Governor the Hon. Franz Manderson convened a meeting of the National Hazard Management Council (NHMC) at 3 p.m. and announced the partial activation of the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) in response to the threat of the COVID-19 virus.
Mr. Manderson emphasized that there are currently no suspected or confirmed cases of the virus in the Cayman Islands, however it was appropriate to continue to anticipate the threat and plan accordingly.
Mr. Manderson, who is also the Chairman of the National Hazard Management Council said Government continues to work diligently to keep the virus from arriving in the Islands, but the NEOC activation brings together key stakeholders to consider likely impacts if a case of COVID-19 was confirmed, and to find ways of limiting the effects on the economy and most importantly on the health and wellbeing of local residents.
The Chief Executive Officer for the Health Services Authority (HSA), Lizzette Yearwood said the Authority was taking steps to improve testing, screening and monitoring for the virus, and a flu hotline will be set up for persons to call if they have concerns or are exhibiting symptoms. Additionally, travel restrictions to and from certain countries may increase in response to the evolving threat.
Hazard Management Director Danielle Coleman, explained that HMCI, the Governor’s Office and the Health Services Authority are working closely with regional partners including the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and a team from Public Health England are currently here in the Cayman Islands working and supporting Government with the COVID-19 threat.
For more information on COVID-19 and for guidance on how to best protect your household, please visit www.hsa.ky/coronavirus or contact the Public Health Department on 244-2621.