COVID-19 Update for Friday, 18 September 2020

  • Out of 385 test results Friday, one was positive, who is a traveller and in isolation.
  • There were no calls to the ‘flu clinic.
  • A new programme for persons quarantining at home began Thursday, for which new regulations were released the same day.
  • All 29 in home quarantine trial have tested negative on arrival.
  • One breach that will attract a fine is a person in home quarantine allowing another person to visit them.
  • The fine for this breach is CI$1,000 and a possible prison term of six months.
  • Government has now successfully negotiated a line of credit from a local consortium of four local banks for $330 million, which will provide a cushion for Government should it become necessary to draw down the funds in dealing with the COVID-19 response.
  • Coming Constitutional amendments are also highlighted.

Grand Cayman (GIS) – At the COVID-19 press conference today, Friday, 18 September 2020, Cayman Islands’ leaders announced the monitoring of a selected number of passengers who arrived on the BA flight from London on Thursday to take part in a quarantine at home programme.

This is an important opportunity to test the home isolation programme prior to the phased borders opening that is set to begin on 1 October.

To facilitate the new test programme, two new sets of regulations have been issued that outline the quarantine at home process.

The regulations cover the requirements to be followed by 29 persons from 12 households quarantining at home, as well as fines and possible imprisonment for breaching these requirements.

These include making it a crime for a person quarantining at home to permit another person to visit them, other than the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) or persons with written permission from the MOH.

Additionally, the leaders also announced that Government now has set up a line of credit with a consortium of four local banks. Government will access this line of credit (LoC) only if required and forms a cushion for ongoing expenses necessitated primarily by the COVID-19 pandemic response.

  • Changes to the Cayman Islands Constitution that are coming as agreed to by the UK Government were also highlighted.
  • Prayer was led by Pastor Mike Irby.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Lee reported:

  • Out of 385 test results today, one was positive.
  • There were no calls to the ‘flu line.

Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin said:

  • In an update on the BA flight that arrived on Thursday afternoon carrying 96 persons, a total of 29 persons from 12 households were placed in the home quarantine programme now being tested. The remaining persons from the flight were sent to the government managed isolation facility.
  • There was some concern with one individual who arrived on the BA flight without proper authorization who was thought to be a visitor and who it was advised would be returned to the UK. It now seems that this individual has ties to the Cayman Islands and will remain in quarantine. A separate statement will be issued by Customs and Border Control.
  • Requirements for the home isolation include persons wearing iMSafe smart wristbands, for geofencing purposes.
  • The iMSafe device provides automatic location monitoring and reporting, alerts and notifies authorities to undertake efficient quarantine management.
  • Changes were made Thursday to the Control of COVID regulations to address any breaches of home quarantine, including permitting other persons to visit them.
  • Persons found to have committed an offence against the regulations face a fine of CI$1,000 and possible imprisonment for six months.
  • Government has received confirmation that the UK is moving ahead with amendments to the CI Constitution by way of a new Draft Order in Council.
  • Amendments include the Legislative Assembly to be changed to Parliament and MLAs to MPs.
  • However, the change sought to Section 81 which grants the Governor the power to legislate where necessary will not be granted. The reason not to remove this section was because the Governor had to use the section to uphold the rule of law following the failure of the Legislative Assembly to approve the Domestic Partnership Bill.
  • For more from the Premier, see sidebars below.

His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper said:

  • Social gatherings continue to be one of the biggest spreaders of COVID as seen in worsening conditions in Europe and the concerning situation is the UK.
  • Cayman’s significant set of prevention measures to manage the risk faced from incoming travellers continues to make sense. “There probably isn’t any other country in the world just now going to these lengths to protect its population particularly our elderly and vulnerable. The community should take confidence from the care and attention that is going in to this.”
  • However, “we should all remain alert and not let our guard down.”
  • Cayman Islands’ ability to ramp up capacity to as many as 3,300 tests a week is laudable.
  • RCIPS will deal with the worst of the comments in response to the Civil Partnership Law.
  • In relation to the Constitutional changes, the UK fully supports and respects Cayman’s extensive responsibility for domestic affairs.
  • Two more Caymanians from the Cayman Regiment left for London today to receive junior officer training at Sandhurst and the next phase of recruitment for reservists is now underway. A bill is now out for public comment on how the Regiment will operate and be governed.
  • For more from the Governor, see sidebar below.

Health Minister Hon. Dwayne Seymour said:

  • Facemasks have to be worn at all HSA locations, at care homes and also at pharmacies.
  • The new operational hours at the George Town Landfill are Mondays to Fridays, 7 am to 5 pm, Saturdays, 7 am to 1 pm and closed on Sunday. However, 24-hour landfill drop off will remain operational for disposal of small quantities of garbage.
  • The start of the annual 2020-2021 general ‘flu vaccine programme will be announced in October. The value of this ‘flu vaccine, particularly to the elderly, the vulnerable include those with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and chronic lung disease cannot be emphasised enough. “Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, especially those who are most vulnerable and whom we have made great strides to protect.”
  • For more from Minster Seymour, see sidebar below.

Finance Minister Hon. Roy McTaggart said:

  • Government has awarded the provision of a stand-by line of credit to a consortium of four local banks for a total of $303.4 million or US$403 million.
  • A further long-term loan for $170 million will be sought for a total of $500 million available to Government should the need arise.
  • Both loans are priced at 3.25% per annum, which is the current prime rate offered by local banks.
  • An appropriation for the $500 million will be presented to the Legislative Assembly and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FOC) for approval prior to accessing any of the funds from the line of credit.
  • “Whilst we have access to this line of credit, we do not expect to need to use it before the end of Q2, 2021. In effect, this is a much needed ‘insurance policy’ for the Cayman Islands.”
  • Cayman Airways has received a contract to deliver mail to the Cayman Islands from the US.  The first shipment of mail will arrive on Monday, 21 September and expect it to be in Grand Cayman Post Office boxes no later than Wednesday, 23 September.
  • For more from Minister McTaggart, see separate release here.
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