Cayman opens emergency operations centre amid virus fears

Members of the National Hazard Management Council meet on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: GIS

Cayman has activated its National Emergency Operations Centre in response to the coronavirus threat, the government announced Tuesday evening.

Following discussions with Cabinet earlier on Tuesday, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson convened a meeting of the National Hazard Management Council and announced the partial activation of the emergency response centre.

In a statement, Manderson emphasised that there are currently no suspected or confirmed cases of the virus in the Cayman Islands, however “it was appropriate to continue to anticipate the threat and plan accordingly”.

Manderson, who chairs and the National Hazard Management Council, said the NEOC activation brings together key stakeholders to consider likely impacts if a case of COVID-19 was confirmed, and “to find ways of limiting the effects on the economy and, most importantly, on the health and wellbeing of local residents”, the statement said.

Chief Executive Officer for the Health Services Authority Lizzette Yearwood said the Authority was taking steps to improve testing, screening and monitoring for the virus, and a flu hotline will be set up for people to call if they have concerns or are exhibiting symptoms. Additionally, travel restrictions to and from certain countries may increase in response to the evolving threat, the statement noted.

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Hazard Management Director Danielle Coleman said Hazard Management Cayman Islands, the Governor’s Office and the Health Services Authority are working closely with regional partners, including the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), and a team from Public Health England are currently in the Cayman Islands working and supporting government with the COVID-19 threat.

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