Residents and business-owners gathered for the meeting at the home of McKeeva Bush in West Bay.
Residents and business-owners gathered for the meeting at the home of McKeeva Bush in West Bay.

LIVE: For the latest updates on the coronavirus, follow our live blog.

As Cayman continues to ramp up its suppression efforts to keep the COVID-19 virus from spreading in the community, House Speaker McKeeva Bush and fellow MLA Captain Eugene Ebanks have urged West Bay residents to remain calm as the two politicians sought to allay fears and answer questions.

The West Bay members held a district meeting on Friday at Bush’s home to inform residents about the efforts being taken by government to counter the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bush said that there are plans to set up a West Bay COVID-19 Response Committee once he consults with colleagues.

“This is a major crisis, for it really affects all of human life, and this is the most worrying aspect. This poses a threat to the economic well-being of the country, and we will take a hit. Especially small businesses, which are the strength of the community,” Bush said in a statement following the meeting.

More than 30 residents attended the gathering called by Bush and Ebanks, who is also Health Ministry councillor.

District Community Development Officer Vanda Powery fielded questions and provided updates on local efforts.

Financial Services and Home Affairs Minister Tara Rivers was locked in government meetings to address the pandemic but representatives from her office attended.

Former government minister and Health Services Authority board member Rolston Anglin encouraged residents to look out for key symptoms, and call the flu helpline if there are questions or suspicions. He said the HSA is trying to keep people from visiting the hospital unnecessarily.

“The HSA has taken an aggressive stance against this pandemic, and no one who presents with any inkling of this virus will be turned away,” he said.

All residents will receive free testing where necessary, health insurance companies will cover coronavirus-related issues, and the Cayman Islands government will take care of any remaining under-insured or uninsured expenses.

Anglin said an initial order of 400 COVID-19 test kits is now on-island for local testing.

According to a statement on the meeting, concerns were raised about unemployment, commercial activities, banking, health services and insurance arrangements.

“As good community members, we can provide a good forum for the work that has to be done, especially from a civic standpoin,” Bush said in the statement. “Government will do its part, but we can only do so much. We need helping hands. I am especially concerned about the vulnerable sick, elderly and shut-ins across our three Islands.

“However, while this threatens our way of life, good Caymanian common sense can prevail – and must prevail!”

Ebanks said there will be ongoing high-level meetings between the government and banks, insurance providers, utilities and other businesses, which are “very receptive to the measures being undertaken”.

“This is a crisis the likes of which the world has never seen, and we are prepared to deal with as many circumstances as possible. Government is prepared to do what it must,” Ebanks said.

For detailed information or to report symptoms, residents can call the Flu Helpline at 1(800) 534-8600.

Full coverage: Coronavirus

If you value our service, if you have turned to us in the past few days or weeks for verified, factual updates, if you have watched our live streaming of press conferences or sent an article to a friend... please consider a donation. Quality local journalism was at risk before the coronavirus crisis. It is now deeply threatened. Even a small amount can go a long way to sustaining our mission of informing the public. We need our readers’ financial support now more than ever.