Premier Alden McLaughlin has said Cayman has fielded requests for COVID-19 test kits from at least six different countries within the region.

Last week, Cayman received 165,000 out of 200,000 test kits purchased for $4.4 million from a South Korean company.

The 200,000 units represented the minimum quantity Cayman was allowed to purchase in a deal that was brokered from halfway around the world by Fernando Jose Nicholson Leos, Vernie Coe and Craig Merren.

Local philanthropist Susan Olde donated half the cost of the test kits.

While he did not go into the specifics of the quantities being sought, McLaughlin said on Monday at the daily COVID-19 briefing that “there are only so many kits to go around”.

A total of 35,000 kits, which were unable to fit on the specially chartered Gulfstream V jet sent by the Dart group to collect and deliver the precious cargo, were sold.

McLaughlin said Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee and his team said 100,000 test kits “is a sufficient buffer for Cayman”.

“So, we are prepared to sell on the other 100,000, and we’ve sold 35,000 to Bermuda, and we’ve sold 20,000 to Barbados,” he said.

Those kits were delivered to both countries last week and now a further 45,000 remain to be sold.

“We currently have requests from Belize, Bahamas, Saint Lucia, and I believe there’s an inquiry from Jamaica. I haven’t seen the latter three. We even got one from Roatan. But I don’t think that their systems are compatible with ours, but I’m not the expert,” the premier said.

While no decisions have been made on the requests, McLaughlin said due consideration will be given to countries that have reached out seeking test kits.

“We’ll see what we can do to … assist as many countries as we possibly can. There’s also a request from Turks and Caicos, although I don’t think they’ve got their machine in place yet,” he added.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. The acquisition of the kits itself was a major feat by our Government and other persons who facilitated/assisted in that project. Making excess kits available to our neighbours was indeed a humanitarian and noble gesture on the part of those Government officials who made the decision. However, at this point, in my opinion, it would be unwise for Cayman to divest any more test kits.

    While the remaining kits may be sufficient to test our entire population one time around and have left-overs, those remaining may be required to do repeat testing among much of the population. Also, CIG should not lose sight of the fact that scientists have cautioned about a possible resurgence of the virus later in the year – assuming that it will be suppressed this time around anyway. If that were to happen here, we would want to have enough test kits to suffice.

    In my view, CIG has already shown its “good-neighbourliness” and should not get rid of any more test kits.

  2. Do these other countries have the necessary equipment to make use of these tests? Are the test kits being kept refrigerated as apparently is required?
    If half these kits are being sold at cost will half the money be repaid to Susan Olde, who paid half the cost of the test kits, or will it all be kept by the government?

  3. Second wave of the virus is predicted to happen in November. Better make sure all tests are properly stored at 20C below.

    Where is it stored by the way and who is monitoring the proper subzero conditions? And who is overseeing those people? Does the facility have generators in case of the power outages? Hurricanes season is around the corner. Is the facility hurricane proved?
    Lots of money and efforts went into obtaining the tests to waste even one kit to negligence.