The government says its stepping up efforts to ensure that persons in COVID-19 quarantine comply with the stipulations.
It’s also appealing the sentence recently handed down on two persons found guilty of breaking their quarantine, on the grounds that the sentence was too lenient.
There have been several instances of quarantine conditions being violated with persons who should be in compulsory isolation circulating in the community posing a potential public health threat.
Another violation was reported over the weekend.
That happened after the Hon. Deputy Governor Franz Manderson had updated the Parliament about measures being put in place to bolster the monitoring system for persons in COVID isolation.
Expert teams from other government agencies are being seconded to bolster the current monitoring of persons in quarantine to reduce the risk of breaches of the system.
Outlining the measures already in place, Deputy Governor Manderson said: “Despite these precautions, the public’s sense of safety and well-being has been shaken in recent times by a small number of confirmed breaches of quarantine, in a private residence as well as, most recently, in a government-sponsored facility.”
There is public concern over the number of breaches to date since the partial border opening but also as more people arrive for the Christmas holidays.
The regulations require that persons arriving in Cayman quarantine for two weeks either in their own home, in a government-managed or in a privately-run quarantine facility.
There are reports of instances where the remote digital tracking gadget assigned to persons in quarantine been tampered with resulting in their exact locations not being known - except when they are seen in public or are absent when a check is carried out at their quarantine location.
According to Mr Manderson, “While one breach is too many, and puts us all at risk, it should be recognized that the vast majority of travellers do comply with our quarantine conditions. Since 1 October, there have been 6 cases associated with breaches of quarantine, two of which have been prosecuted and four, which are under investigation.”
However, he noted that during that same period, over 3,500 persons have arrived in Cayman, “and by far, the vast majority of these individuals have completed their quarantine without incident.”
To ensure compliance and to enforce the conditions of quarantine, he announced that Hazard Management Cayman Islands (HMCI) will assign their Cayman Islands Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) to conduct welfare and compliance checks of persons who are in quarantine within their respective catchments.”
That was being activated over the weekend.
Going forward, Mr Manderson stated that the government will be pressing for the imposition of the full penalty for persons found to have violated their quarantine conditions.
“Breaches of the COVID-19 regulations will not be tolerated and we will seek to prosecute all confirmed violations. We are hopeful that the fact that any person(s) prosecuted will be liable on conviction to a fine of CI$10,000 and imprisonment for two years will serve as a strong deterrent.”
The Deputy Governor also confirmed that the government is appealing the sentences of the two persons recently convicted for breaching the quarantine regulations.
The two offenders, Skylar Mack and Vanjay Ramjeet, were fined CI$2,600 each and ordered to complete 40 hours community service.
“In allowing persons to enter our borders and quarantine at a private residence or at an approved facility, it should be noted that we are not operating a prison. We rely on the good character and good judgement of travellers and of course persons escape even from the most secure prisons,” the Deputy Governor stated.
On Sunday, letters of apology were received from Skylar Mack and Vanjay Ramjeet which we have included with this article.