Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee has warned that he will call on the police to take action against anyone who breaks isolation protocols when it comes to positive COVID-19 patients.
Lee issued the warning at Monday’s coronavirus briefing, stating that police action will extend to the patient’s family as well.
“If you have been diagnosed with COVID, you fall into a different group; then you fall into an absolute requirement for you and all of your household to stay at home. If Public Health determines or finds out that anybody has left their home when they’ve been advised [not] to do so by Public Health, we will immediately report the matter to the police,” Lee said.
While he did not go into specifics on the matter or why he issued the warning, the chief medical officer made it clear he will not take such issues lightly and has already consulted with the police.
“They are going to offer any assistance they can in order to make sure that the full force of the law is brought to anybody that breaches the requirement to stay at home if you are a sufferer or live in a household with a sufferer,” Lee said.
Government has ordered mandatory isolation for all travellers and those within their households.
Cayman has reported 12 positive COVID-19 cases to date plus one inconclusive case believed to be the first instance of community transmission, which has been sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency for confirmation.
Governor Martyn Roper announced on Monday that an air bridge has been created between the UK and Cayman via Bermuda, and a British Airways flight will be touching down at Owen Roberts International Airport early next week.
The flight will be delivering COVID-19 supplies, but it is also open to Caymanians in the UK who wish to return home. The cost of the tickets is being determined.
The governor has also extended the offer to those who may wish to use the outbound flight to return to the UK or transit through the UK to their home country.
He said consideration will be given to compassionate cases.
Roper added that the flight crew will not be leaving the airport.
“We are taking this most seriously. Anyone who comes on that flight will be required to isolate,” Premier Alden McLaughlin said, as he reiterated that anyone who opts to use the flight to return to Cayman has to isolate for 14 days.
“It is important for people to understand that self-isolation is not an option. It’s absolutely mandatory and because of all of the other things that have happened in terms of the crash of the economy. We now have significant personnel … that we are able to deploy to monitor whether people are isolating the way that they need to,” he said.
McLaughlin urged people to use the government isolation facilities, which will be made available for anyone arriving on the inbound flight.
“It would be beyond tragic if you came back and infected your family and your friends, and in the process of doing so killed off your grandmother, your aunt, your mother, just because you selfishly didn’t want to spend two weeks in isolation having come from a very high-risk jurisdiction with respect to this virus,” he said.