Cayman Islands Government TV (CIGTV) Update on Coronavirus.

SPECIFIC GUIDANCE FOR CAYMANIANS OVERSEAS IS AS FOLLOWS: 

a) Caymanians living or travelling overseas are reminded that they are treated as British nationals in the case of an emergency and should communicate with their nearest British Embassy in the event of a crisis.

b) Caymanians living or travelling in the UK are urged to register with Cayman Islands Government Office UK as a point of contact for information/assistance in the event of an emergancy.

CIGO UK REGISTRATION AT: WWW.CIGOUK.KY/SIGN-UP

The Ministry of Health and the Department of Public Health Announce Travel Ban

10 February, 2020…..Cabinet  has approved that the 2019 novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) be added to the Schedule of Notifiable Diseases of the Public Health Law (2002 Revision).  Once an illness has been added to this schedule, it provides for additional powers under the law to manage outbreaks of certain diseases.

In addition, Cabinet has approved  the issuance of Regulations to control the entry of persons into the Cayman Islands who have a travel history to mainland China under the Public Health Law (2002 Revision). The intention is to limit entry for any person who has travelled to, from or through mainland China within a period of fourteen days or less immediately preceding arrival in the Cayman Islands. Therefore, if you are a returning resident, you will be quarantined under the direction of the Medical Officer of Health. Quarantine is likely to be in the persons’ home, depending on what is appropriate.

For non-residents, the quarantine will take place at a quarantine facility as designated by the Medical Officer of Health.

The following outlines the details of the 2019-nCoV travel restrictions:

– Cabinet approved the drafting of new Regulations under Section 34 of the Public Health Law (2002) to restrict the entry of visitors by aircraft or ship to the Cayman Islands if they have had a recent travel history to, from or through mainland China.  At this time, this does not include Hong Kong and Macau.

– Cayman nationals and returning residents who have been to mainland China and are planning on returning or have already returned to the Cayman Islands will be subject to quarantine and surveillance for up to fourteen days since departing mainland China at a location to be determined by the Medical Officer of Health – which may be their homes in some circumstances.

–  Visitors who have gained entry into the Cayman Islands who have travelled to mainland China within the last fourteen days will be quarantined at a location to be determined by the Medical Officer of Health until the expiration of the fourteen days from departing mainland China

–  Increased surveillance and observation of any person with a relevant travel history to, from or through mainland China suspected to be suffering from the novel coronavirus in the Cayman Islands, which will involve the removal of persons to a place in which they will be quarantined during the incubation period (up to 14 days).

Minister for Health, Hon Dwayne Seymour, JP, MLA said, “Further to the press conference held on Monday, February 4th 2020, Cabinet has taken the advice of my Ministry to add more extensive protections to the health of our citizens from the threat of the novel Coronavirus. We appreciate how seriously this matter has been taken and the expeditious actions undertaken to help us safeguard the Public. It is important, however, that we all continue to do our part. We must remain vigilant and take personal steps to protect our own health, and be reminded of cough and sneeze etiquette, to wash our hands often and to avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of a respiratory illness.”

Residents are being reminded to “be in the know” about 2019-nCoV (the 2019 novel coronavirus) in any travel abroad and to practice general infection control measures such as:

  • frequent hand cleansing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • covering nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
  • avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections, and
  • avoiding unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.

Public health officials are reminding arriving passengers to seek medical attention and to share their travel history with their healthcare provider if they have symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, even when arriving from other countries where cases have occurred.   Common symptoms of the 2019-nCoV infection are of the respiratory system such as shortness of breath and cough, along with ‘flu-like’ symptoms and fever. 

The Ministry of Health, Public Health officials and the management of the Health Services Authority confirm that at this time there are no cases of the novel coronavirus in the country.  Public Health officials and the management of the Health Services Authority continues to assure the public of their capability to manage any imported cases of the novel coronavirus and continue to activate national contingency plans as needed.

For further information on the 2019-nCoV please contact the Public Health Department on 244-2621 or visit https://www.hsa.ky/public-health/coronavirus/.

Q&A on Coronavirus Travel Ban:
2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

  1. If not the person’s home, then where exactly would people be quarantined?
    Residents are likely to be quarantined at home. People needing hospitalization will go to the Cayman Islands Hospital (HSA). The numbers of people with a relevant travel history to mainland China who require quarantine is likely to be small. We have identified two shelters that will be able to house persons as a first step, should this need arise, and may find more comfortable accommodations.
  2. What does the inside of a quarantine facility look like?
    Most residents will be quarantined in their homes. For visitors who might need quarantine, the emergency provision we currently have is that of designated hurricane shelters, although alternatives may be selected. We have considered the need to provide food and drink,
    toiletries and internet access.
    Locally families will generally tend to their own personal requirements. However, where this is not possible, Public Health staff will be able to purchase and deliver groceries to the residence. It is our goal to ensure those quarantined are comfortable, well attended by Public Health staff, and have access to outside communication such as internet access.
  3. What mechanism is being set up for monitoring?
    The Public Health Department has extensive experience in monitoring people at home who have infectious diseases, and supporting the people affected through the period of quarantine.
  4. How much staff will it require?
    To truly monitor everyone adequately no more than five isolated persons per staff are normally allowed – needs may change with time.
  5. What are practical tips for people who have family members being quarantined in
    their home?

    People who have no symptoms should maintain the recommended advice about simple infection control measures:
    • frequent hand cleansing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
    • covering nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
    People in quarantine must have no physical contact or exposure with anyone apart from the controlled exposure to Public Health officials – this is part of the home quarantine requirements.
  6. What if a child needs to be quarantined? Are they separated from their parent/s?
    Families who have travelled together would be quarantined together. If a child needed to be quarantined in their own right, this would need to be considered on a case by case basis. In most cases a child would not be traveling alone therefore they would all be isolated together since they were in close contact with each other.
  7. What provisions will be made to allow quarantined people to maintain contact with
    friends and family?

    Other than by phone, contact with people with a relevant travel history is not permitted until after the period of quarantine. We need to do this to contain the potential for any potential spread of disease.
  8. What if you are breastfeeding mother?
    The World Health Organization advises the following: considering the benefits of breastfeeding and insignificant role of the breast milk in transmission of other respiratory viruses, mothers can continue breastfeeding. The mother should wear a medical mask when she is near her baby and perform careful hand hygiene before close contact with the baby. She would need also to apply the other hygienic measures as described elsewhere.
  9. Is there a budget specifically for this? How much is it?
    Cabinet has approved a budget of up to $100,000 for quarantining measures.
  10. How many business visitors/tourists do we have from China in a typical year?
    We do have quite a few law firms and financial institutions that have a franchise or home base in other jurisdictions especially the UK, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, and other far eastern countries with frequent travel, although many companies have reduced or have stopped this travel for the moment.
    Since last week, cruise ships have been denying boarding to anyone with a travel history from mainland China; additionally, many of our neighbours (including the Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad and the USA) have instituted similar travel restrictions.
  11. Do we have an idea how many people may be impacted?
    The new Regulations will mean that persons currently being asked to stay at home will now be legally required to do so.
  12. Will any commercial shipping be impacted by this?
    The Cayman Islands does have goods delivered from China, which should not pose a risk as the virus will not survive the journey.

Update from the Cayman Islands Ministry of Health, regarding the Coronavirus.

The Ministry of Health has been watching closely and with concern the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease, also known as 2019-nCoV. The Ministry has been in close communication with the Pan American Health Organisation, the Caribbean Public Health Agency and Public Health England, all of whom are providing regular recommendations, updates and web based meetings. A Public Health alert was issued on 22nd January and a Public Health travel advisory was issued on 30th January. The World Health Organisation declared yesterday that this coronavirus outbreak is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Coronavirus Update from the Cayman Islands Government

All registered practitioners have been provided with information on this Public Health threat through the Department of Health Regulatory Services.

The Department of Public Health held a multisectoral meeting on Wednesday 29th January (rescheduled following the earthquake) and amongst the attendees were senior members of Customs and Border Control, the Port Authority, the Airports Authority, Ministry of Tourism and staff from across the Health Services Authority. Plans for managing arriving passengers and people who may be at risk from the novel coronavirus were discussed in detail. Additionally, plans for transferring and managing patients who require hospital care were also discussed. The Department of Public Health is communicating with Cayman Airways offering support and advice.

Officials have been in contact with the cruise ship industry and have been informed that the cruise ships are conducting screening on all joining passengers. It is also reassuring to know that travellers who are coming from China are being screened on arrival in the USA, Canada, the UK and beyond.

Highly visible information for arriving passengers will be placed at the ports within days. The Customs and Border officers are already screening all arriving passengers for travel histories to China who will be notified to the department of Public Health. Public Health will then monitor these people for the incubation period and support their healthcare needs as necessary.

The Public is reminded to “be in the know” about 2019-nCoV (the 2019 novel coronavirus). This virus is one of a family of corona viruses which include one causing the common cold. However, this particular strain has not been characterised before. In any travel abroad, the Public is advised to practice general infection control measures such as:

• frequent hand cleansing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
• covering nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
• avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.

Masks will be placed at the entrances to clinics across the islands for people with respiratory symptoms to use so they can reduce the chance of any spread of infection to others when they enter the clinic.

The Health Services Authority is taking forward plans to increase its response capacity to this health concern which will include sourcing additional equipment and supplies. Private healthcare providers are also on the alert and able to support the response as necessary.

The National Security Council is meeting early next week and will consider whether travel restrictions may be in the National interest and any further action deemed necessary.

SPECIFIC GUIDANCE FOR CAYMANIANS OVERSEAS IS AS FOLLOWS: 

a) Caymanians living or travelling overseas are reminded that they are treated as British nationals in the case of an emergency and should communicate with their nearest British Embassy in the event of a crisis.

b) Caymanians living or travelling in the UK are urged to register withCayman Islands Government Office UK as a point of contact for information/assistance in the event of an emergancy.

CIGO UK REGISTRATION AT: WWW.CIGOUK.KY/SIGN-UP

PLEASE ENCOURAGE FELLOW CAYMANIANS IN THE UK TO REGISTER WITH THE CAYMAN ISLANDS GOVERNMENT OFFICE IN THE UK FOR UPDATES.
WWW.CIGOUK.KY/SIGN-UP

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