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UK Overseas Territories Minister Baroness Liz Sugg says the UK stands with its overseas territories as they, like most of the world, continue to grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
She said the UK government is procuring medical equipment and support for each territory.
“The UK Government is working closely with the Overseas Territories to ensure they receive the help that is necessary,” Sugg said in a statement released by the Governor’s Office on Thursday.
“But we will also stand by the OTs in the long run as they deal with the impacts of the pandemic,” Sugg added.
At Wednesday’s COVID-19 press briefing, Premier Alden McLaughlin said he and other overseas territories leaders held a conference call to discuss the current state of play with coronavirus.
He said that OT leaders, through the call, learned of the developments in the other territories and were able to exchange views and perspectives and to learn what the UK government was continuing to do to support its territories.
“I was very reassured, I think we all were, by Baroness Sugg, to learn that they are sourcing additional essential equipment and supplies for us, particularly tests,” he said.
McLaughlin also stated that leaders were informed that the UK had gone into ‘heightened’ mode to try to produce equipment like ventilators to assist the territories, adding, “She gave us all the assurance that whatever it is that the United Kingdom government can do to continue to assist us in the territories, they will do.”
McLaughlin said the OT leaders settled on Cayman being the centre of the “air bridge” that the UK and overseas territories are creating.
Through the air bridge, he said, “we would be able, if necessary, to utilise Cayman Airways, either the jets or the Saab, to distribute personnel, equipment, medicines, whatever is necessary to the other territories”.
“I think another fine example and testament to all the infrastructure that we have developed here and the abilities that we have to be of service still to our brothers and sisters and the other overseas territories and, I dare say, even further afield within the region,” McLaughlin said.
Sugg, in her statement, expressed gratitude to the premier and public servants in the Cayman Islands for “their hard work to help stop the spread of the virus. I encourage everyone to follow the advice that has been issued – we all have a role to play in keeping people safe.”
Governor Martyn Roper, in the statement, said Public Health England continues its work with the chief medical officer and the Ministry of Health on island.
He stressed the importance of paying attention to all the COVID-19 information that is being provided to keep those in the Cayman Islands safe.
“I encourage everyone to continue to follow the government guidance on practising good hygiene, social distancing and self-isolating when required. As Governor, I will continue to do all I can to help ensure the safety and security of Cayman, working in close conjunction with both the Cayman authorities and UK Government agencies,” Roper said.
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