The gravity of the situation facing the Cayman Islands due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been further forcefully driven home by Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin.
Reinforcing previous statements he has made about the scale of the crisis now facing the territory, he said the gravity of the situation is possibly the worst health crisis the world has faced in over a hundred years.
He was speaking on Monday following the disclosure that the number of COVID-19 cases had increased (to five at the time) and the announcement of the imposition of a 10-day curfew from 9pm to 5am.
“We have put in place some measures earlier than most places in the world did, which, pray God they work. We appear to be ahead of the curve with respect to the virus.
“We have now shut down the borders of this country. If our measures succeed we will go through two weeks of great inconvenience and stress (but) we will have prevented community spread.”
Once that is achieved, the Premier said the Government can look at how it could relax some of the strictures it has been forced to put in place.
However, he emphasised that if the present measures fail to produce the desired results, the prospects look ominous.
“If we fail it is not going to be two weeks of semi-lockdown, it is going to be a minimum of twelve weeks of absolute lockdown, hundreds of deaths, many funerals that we are not going to be able to attend because of the restriction on numbers.”
He was then referring to the reduction from 50 to 10 as the maximum number of people who are allowed to congregate in groups.
Further hammering home just how serious the situation is, Premier McLaughlin called on citizens and residents not to let their guard down.
“We cannot behave flippantly about this matter. It needs every single soul who is here to believe that this is the right thing to do and that we absolutely must do it.”
He expressed gratitude “to all the people who are working so hard to keep this disaster from attending us”, and called on the public to give their support to all the frontline and emergency staff “who are working to keep this country safe.”
“I’m sorry if I appear so morbid, so worried about this,” Premier McLaughlin stated, but again stressed, “this is the harsh reality the country faces.”
He was confident though that Cayman was in a much better position than many other countries largely because of its early and pre-emptive actions.
“Let’s do this. Let’s set an example to the world about how you manage an epidemic like this. But we need each and every one of you," he implored.
I appeal to you as your Premier, let’s do this with the seriousness which it deserves and let’s save Cayman and each other together.”
Premier McLaughlin said the intensified actions reflect the seriousness of the situation and are necessary to slow the spread of the disease and curb the chances of community transmission.