By Lindsey Turnbull
It is not the incoming visitors who will be arriving on Cayman’s shores in the coming weeks who will be most likely to spread Covid-19 among the local community, it is returning residents who have been overseas on shopping expeditions. This is according to the Health Minister Sabrina Turner, who was recently speaking at a press conference.
The behaviours and actions of “our very own people”, rather than tourists, were much more likely to expose the elderly and the vulnerable to Covid-19, given that returning residents who are fully vaccinated will now not need to quarantine upon returning home since the borders opened on 20 November, she advised.
“Our very own people that are travelling overseas to get ‘off the rock’ to shop, to get on the deals, pose a greater risk than the tourists that are coming to our shores. Those tourists are not going to be the ones going to granny and aunty who’s bed-ridden. They are not the ones going from one watering hole to the next,” Minister Turner said.
Minister Turner said people undertaking such risky behaviour did not realise what they were doing.
“This is why we cannot hammer it home enough: wear your mask; practice good sanitation techniques with your hands; avoid visiting aunty, worse if you know that family member giving them an early Christmas gift is a dialysis patient, is a cancer patient, is someone who is in remission. Your trip going away and delaying the delivery of that gift for five days is day and night in saving that person’s life,” she stated.
Ms Turner said that unless people adhered to the guidelines and did their part, she could assure the risk would be raised with Caymanians who were going to go away and come back.
“We, as Caymanians, going away and coming back, I’m expecting to conduct themselves even more so than those persons who have this pent-up demand to go on our beaches, go diving and get a little food and go back to their hotel rooms,” Minister Turner said. “I’m appealing to my people conduct yourself as though you’re still in isolation, even though we have agreed to give you the freedom from isolation.”
Minister Turner said with Black Friday coming up, she knew of many who were going away to shop.
“I want you to do the right thing even though we’re opening our borders and are welcoming tourists. You have got the freedom to go away and return without isolation. Please keep conscious that you are going to another country, exposing yourself much more. Coming back, be cautious when you’re going to your grandparents. Do the right thing: wear your mask, practice good hand sanitation and just be responsible for the first couple of days when you come home. Test yourself, use the lateral flows, avoid the older persons, avoid those persons who are immunocompromised. Freedom is good, but let’s be responsible in the management thereof.”