UK military personnel arrive on island

A team of nine military personnel and three civilians arrived in Grand Cayman Tuesday from the UK to assist with Cayman’s COVID-19 battle and hurricane preparedness.

The team includes medical planners, logistics experts and security advisors, according to Governor Martyn Roper. They will help coordinate essential medical supplies and personnel, and would liaise with UK naval boats, including a hospital ship, operating in the region.

In a statement last week, the governor said the team would help ensure Cayman was prepared for “any eventuality” amid the current crisis.

The dozen personnel were among 43 people arriving in Cayman on a British Airways flight from London Tuesday. All of the arrivals will be kept in mandatory isolation for 14 days, the governor said Tuesday.

Roper said the flight also brought medicine, medical equipment, swabs and supermarket supplies. On board was another security team from the UK, which is on its way to the Turks and Caicos. The governor said that team, along with the BA crew, would be quarantined overnight.

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The plane also brought in medical supplies. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay

He refuted online rumours that a person with COVID symptoms on that flight had been taken off the plane before it departed from Heathrow. “Let me just say, categorically, that this is not true. There was a technical issue with the flight; it was delayed by 45 minutes, but nothing to do with passenger illness.”

He appealed to people to stop circulating incorrect information and rumours that raised alarm and panic.

The return flight to London will take back British nationals and residents who want to leave Cayman. They will be among 334 people leaving the Cayman Islands this week, on board the BA flight, a flight to Mexico and two flights to Miami.

Roper said 408 other people had left Cayman since its borders were closed last month, on board another BA flight, two flights to Miami and one to Canada.

He added that a total of 198 Caymanians or permanent residents had returned to Cayman on various flights since the airports closed, and all of them had undergone 14 days of quarantine.

Forty-three people arrived in Cayman on board the BA flight on Tuesday. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay

More evacuation flights from Cayman are also being organised, the governor said. These include a flight to La Ceiba, Honduras on Monday, 4 May, which, he said, had sold out very quickly.

Roper added, “We will be arranging a second flight,” and said he hoped to be able to give more details on that Wednesday.

Arrangements for flights to Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic were also progressing, he said.

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