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Front Pages 18 Sep, 2020 Follow News

HSA Public Health airport team ( Photo by Ministry of Health)


There is encouraging initial feedback to Cayman’s new COVID-19 arrivals screening system.

Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee reported that all involved in Thursday’s pilot arrivals screening had good feedback about the exercise.

“They felt the system was comprehensive and worked very well,” he said about the feedback from the returning residents and the BA flight crew.

According to Dr Lee, training of the staff involved in the new screening system will continue as there are “lots of lessons to be learnt.”

Cayman has recorded one additional positive COVID-19 result from the batch of tests reported on Friday bringing the total to date to 209 confirmed cases.

Photo by Ministry of Health

That person was a traveller who was in a government-managed isolation facility.

Four persons found to be asymptomatic are still in isolation.

There were 385 tests done over the 24-hour period.

The tests results reported on Friday included samples taken from 29 people who participated in the new arrivals screening system with the British Airways flight which landed on Thursday.

They all had negative results.

They have opted to be in home isolation under the government’s new Quarantine-In-Residence programme.

The persons in home isolation are being monitored by an eight-person team from the CBC.

Dr Tasha Ebanks Garcia, the Deputy Chief Advisor in the Office of the Deputy Governor, said part of the testing over the next couple of weeks will be to determine the level of resourcing needed and to allow time to acquire it.

She also reported that an eight-person surveillance team has been assigned to test the protocols and processes that have been developed, respond to alerts and carry out random checks of the homes where people are isolating.

Commenting on the trial run of the new arrivals screening process, Hon. Premier Alden McLaughlin said the flight which arrived with 95 passengers “provided us with an important opportunity to extensively test the individual components of the reopening of the borders.”

The Premier outlined the elaborate system which has been put in place including the technology, administrative processes and detailed information packs for those taking part in the Quarantine-In-Residence trial.

In reviewing the pre-travel screening system it has been uncovered that one passenger on the incoming BA flight was not pre-cleared via the government’s TravelTime system for travel to Cayman.

The person was placed straight into quarantine and departed on the outgoing BA flight on Friday.

Mr McLaughlin stressed, “It must remain clear to all that our public policies will be forced. No one should arrive on-island without the necessary approval.”

He said “the safety and well-being of everyone who lives in our islands is paramount to this government,” adding that “we will not rely solely on technology but also back that up with boots on the ground.”

HE Governor Martyn Roper in expressing satisfaction with how it went, remarked that “it is hugely important that we have put in place a very significant set of mitigations to manage the risk we face from incoming travellers which remains from the UK, US and Jamaica.”

“I would probably say that there are other countries in the world that are going through these lengths to protect their population particularly the elderly and vulnerable."

Mr Roper stressed that Cayman needed to “proceed carefully and cautiously", but said "at the moment we remain one of the safest places in the world to be just now”.

He urged everyone to continue to put safety first.

Regarding the national COVID-19 testing programme, the Governor reported that there is the capacity to ramp up testing to over 3,000 tests week if needed.

He remarked that the quality of testing in Cayman “continues to hold up extremely well" and relayed that both PAHO and the WHO have “reaffirmed the very high quality of the local testing.

Hon. Minister of Health Dwayne Seymour also expressed satisfaction on new arrivals screening trial.

“We have been able to take away so much from the first run-through and overall it went very smoothly,” he observed.

The processes from Thursday’s trial arrivals screening will be reviewed in a general debrief session on Monday.

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