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Quarantine breacher may face hefty fine

Local News 07 Dec, 2020 Follow News

Quarantine breacher may face hefty fine

The individual who breached the rules governing quarantining at home on Sunday 30th November is having their case reviewed by the Director of Public Prosecution who will determine whether their rule-breaking may ultimately cost them $10,000 or even a two-year stint in jail.

Having completed their investigations, the RCIPS have now passed the case over to the DPP to see whether they believe the person in question ought to be prosecuted. The maximum fine for such a breach of Cayman’s strict quarantine rules is now $10,000.

In addition to the RCIPS investigations, Public Health have also undertaken contact tracing to see with whom the person came into close contact during them time spent outside their quarantine residence. It was reported that the individual, who had travelled to Cayman from overseas, left their quarantine residence to attend a public jet ski event, a breach of the mandatory Quarantine at Residence rules, and was then relocated to a government sponsored facility at the traveller’s expense.

Because of the individual breaking their quarantine and mixing with others at the jet ski event, six more people, including the traveller, are now in mandatory quarantine. Public Health said that all these individuals would be tested on Thursday, 3rd December, to allow sufficient time for incubation of the virus and they would then be re-tested at the end of their quarantine.

Not only does the individual in question face prosecution, but others may also be charged in connection with the breach. Upon summary conviction, offenders are liable to a fine of up to CI$10,000 and imprisonment for up to two years. As the event they attended was outdoors, this reduced the close contact that could have taken place had the individual mixed with others indoors, thereby reducing the numbers that needed to isolate. It could however have been a different story, had the person attended a gathering indoors.

Medical Officer of Health, Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez emphasised the need for everyone in the community to take a collective responsibility for people’s health during the pandemic.

“I would like to use this opportunity to implore everyone in the Cayman Islands, visitors and residents alike, to take ownership and responsibility for your own health and the protection of our community. Together we will get through this,” he said.

The Programme Board, which monitors the Quarantine at Residence programme, said that there was no malfunction in the wearable tracking technology that was being utilised with participants, and that the monitoring team at the Department of Public Safety Communications acted in full compliance with established protocols.

However, as a result of the individual’s breach, the number of checks at the airport by the Mobile Compliance Team have been increased, to ensure that wristbands have been fitted correctly prior to travellers exiting the arrival hall.

Franz Manderson, Programme Board Chair, said he was satisfied that the monitoring and compliance checks that are built into the QAR programme provided sufficient safeguards on a number of levels to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19.

“Over 1,000 travellers to date have been approved to quarantine at a residence, and the vast majority have complied with the restrictions and completed their quarantine without incident. Notwithstanding, public safety remains a top priority and government will not hesitate to seek prosecution of anyone confirmed to have violated the QAR protocols,” he confirmed.

The RCIPS have confirmed that three previous breaches are still under investigation.

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