SISTER ISLANDS LOCKDOWN COULD BE LIFTED THIS WEEK
With almost all of the estimated 200 residents of Little Cayman tested with no indication of COVID-19, steps are being put in place to lift the lockdown there.
Monday’s daily COVID-19 update from the government reported that with around 92% of the population (est. over 180 people) tested that results was deemed conclusive.
Borders will however remain closed to inter-island traffic except for essential travel.
In making the announcement, Premier Alden McLaughlin said an order could also soon be given to lifting the lockdown on Cayman Brac as it would not be necessary to test all of the around 1,900 hundred persons on that island.
Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee announced on Monday that around 400 tests have already been conducted on Cayman Brac with no positive COVID-19 results being reported beyond the sole case which was reported a few weeks ago.
The administrative process to lift relax the restrictions on both islands is expected to be expedited this week including a review of the Shelter-In-Place protocol as it applies there.
Residents of both Cayman Brac and Little Cayman were however, advised that even though their restrictions might be extensively relaxed, they should still observe good hygiene practices, social distancing and wearing of masks because “there’s always a degree of risk.”
The pending relaxation of the restrictions on both islands was greeted with relief by Premier McLaughlin as a “tremendous milestone”.
He described the past two months as the most difficult period of his life and his political career, crediting his faith for guiding him and his government.
And while the outlook for reopening Little Cayman and Cayman Brac is encouraging, the Premier noted that while there has been increased pressure to open up Grand Cayman beyond what is already being put in place, "it would be unsafe to do so at this stage.”
He said although testing has been “ramped up” to well over 2,000 tests, that still wasn’t enough on which to base a decision to open up further.
The territory is from this week at Level 4 after being at Level 5, the most severe of a 5-step lockdown plan, for around the past six weeks.
Mr McLaughlin said testing will continue throughout Grand Cayman especially across specific demographic groups.
Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee urged anyone feeling particularly with with flu-like symptoms to contact the health services to be tested for COVID-19 as the tests are now easily available.
Premier McLaughlin said: “It is clear that we will not be able to open up fully for quite some time, adding that Cabinet will be looking at keeping the borders closed possibly up to September.
“Cayman will have to continue functioning as if in a bubble with a gradual return to normalcy."
With the many businesses now allowed to open with the corresponding increased movement of people allowed under the Level 4 Suppression , Mr McLaughlin said the situation will continue to be monitored closely.
He also indicated that alongside the intensified testing now taking place, some consideration could be given to broadening the categories of businesses now allowed to open and for members of the public to circulate more freely.
However, citing flare-ups elsewhere where measures have been relaxed too quickly, he urged Cayman to “wait just a little longer.”
CMO Dr Lee reported Monday that there has been only one additional positive COVID-19 case bringing the total to 75, compared to over 600 negative results.
He repeated his call to the public to continue practising safe distancing and advised people to wear masks while out and about.
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