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TIGHT MEDICAL CONTROLS EXPECTED

Front Pages 06 May, 2020 Follow News

Owen Roberts International Airport Arrivals Hall

Owen Roberts International Airport Main Entrance

Border Health control

The Cayman Islands could see more rigid screening being put in place once the borders are reopened.

Although precise plans are not yet to be formulated, Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee has indicated that current requirements for border and immigration controls might prove inadequate should the borders be reopened around September as has been tentatively suggested.

The CMO was at the time responding to a question looking at what the entry requirements safety protocols might be once the territory’s borders are eventually opened again.

Cayman has been on lockdown for about the past six weeks with the closure of the borders as one of the main measures in the fight to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Saying that it was still too early to determine what the situation might be months in advance, Dr Lee said factors such as the global context of COVID-19 at that time, the risk to Cayman, and even emerging technology to combat the virus would need to be factored in.

A new tool being considered globally in the so-called ‘new normal’ expected once countries start reopening their borders is an ‘immunity passport' - a document confirming that the holder is COVID-free.

“I think the safety procedures would really be worldwide,” Dr Lee said.

“At this moment, it would be absolutely inadequate at the moment to go through a screening questionnaire or temperature monitor. It would virtually be the same as throwing our doors wide open because there’s too much COVID out there compared with the little where we are.”

The CMO announced that there have been a further three confirmed cases of COVID-19 bringing the total to 78 out of a further 224 tests carried out - meaning that 221 of the samples were negative.

Of the three new cases, two are frontline staff but not health workers.

This phase of the stepped-up testing programme is currently focusing on frontline staff. Thirty patients have fully recovered from the disease.

Commenting on the latest results, Hon. Premier Alden McLaughlin said it was a “sobering announcement” by the CMO and said it reflected his previous advice not to get “carried away” by the recent low level of increases.

“The virus is still very much among us and in the category of front line workers,” the Premier stated, a matter viewed with some concern.

“We can not relax our vigilance. We are not yet out of the woods although we see a clearing.

Mr McLaughlin said it was still too early to celebrate underlining why his administration was proceeding cautiously even regarding Cayman Brac.

“We are not certain that all of Cayman Brac is completely COVID-19 free," he stated.

The Brac was mentioned in the context of relaxation of measures now being put in place for the Sister Islands especially Little Cayman.

The Premier confirmed that the National Hazard Management Executive met on Tuesday to consider the situation of Little Cayman where lifting the lockdown has now been approved and was due to take effect from Tuesday.


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