5 new positive results reported

Six construction workers test positive as that industry begins reopening

Cayman’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee reported five new positive cases of COVID-19 during Monday’s government press conference.

That brings Cayman’s total to 134 positive cases overall, of which 72 are active, 61 have recovered, and one has died. There have been 9,401 results reported overall since testing began in March.

“The labs have been busy,” Dr. Lee said.

Of the positive results reported on Monday, one person was determined to be a contact of another person who had previously tested positive for COVID-19. The four other results were found through the ongoing screening programme.

There are 13 people who continue to show symptoms of COVID-19, but Lee confirmed on Monday that none has recently tested positive. He said no one has come in for testing with symptoms since 27 April; 59 of the active cases are people who are asymptomatic.

“We don’t really have anybody at the moment who I’m reporting as positive, who have symptoms,” Lee said.

The Health Services Authority confirmed it has between nine and 12 weeks’ supply of personal protective equipment, Lee said.

Construction workers being tested

Nearly 2,000 workers in the construction and development industries are set to be tested before the end of the month. So far, six workers in this industry have returned positive results for COVID-19.

Lee also said 850 construction workers have been tested as those in that industry continue to try and get back to work. Of those, six workers have tested positive.

The aim is to test upwards of 2,000 construction workers “as time goes by”, Lee said.

There are 65 projects that had been identified where a “small number” of personnel were allowed back on site starting Monday.

Premier Alden McLaughlin said 1,670 workers from the construction and development industries – including those working at hardware stores – are set to return to work during this phase of economic reopening.

There are about 8,000 total workers in those industries.

“If that (testing) trend continues, we should be able to introduce into the workforce the balance of that particular sector over the course of the next few weeks,” McLaughlin said.

The premier said work continues on determining what the next phase of economic reopening will look like.

Donors help with flights

Governor Martyn Roper said 280 Filipinos living in Cayman were able to return to their country on Saturday’s evacuation flight via London.

“I’m extremely pleased with Saturday’s BA flight to the Philippines,” he said.

He said some of those on the flight had work permits that were already cancelled or expired and were unable to pay for their respective tickets. Two donors, however, stepped in to cover the costs.

Roper also said there are “detailed negotiations” ongoing on at least one, and possibly two, flights to India. He added that things were “on track” with regards to an ai-rbridge flight between the UK and Cayman in the first half of June.

Cayman Airways confirmed on Monday that it would be operating flights from Grand Cayman to Miami on 29 May, 5 June, 12 June, 19 June and 26 June, in response to “the ongoing high demand for repatriation flights”.

No pay cuts for ministers, MLAs

The premier last week told the Cayman Compass there were no plans to cut salaries of Members of the Legislative Assembly.

Asked about the same topic on Monday, McLaughlin said cutting the salaries of government leaders would not make a significant impact on the government’s coffers.

“You think MLAs are particularly well-paid in Cayman?” the premier said, adding that he makes less money now than when he was practising as an attorney.

“For those who believe this is a cushy job, you’ve got another thing coming,” he said. “My team is working harder now than they ever had before.”

As of 2016, MLAs in Cayman were earning between $109,932 and $130,668 as their base annual salary.

The pay for the speaker, premier, deputy premier and other cabinet ministers ranged from $158,400 to $179,196 at that time.

The governor’s pay was somewhere between $199,714 and $220,435, according to information provided at the time to the Cayman News Service by Gloria McField-Nixon, chief officer in the Portfolio of the Civil Service.

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