No new COVID cases as more restrictions to be eased Sunday

Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee reported results for 316 COVID-19 tests Friday at the government’s COVID-19 press conference, all of which were negative.

There are six active cases, with none of those people showing symptoms. The total of  people who have tested positive for COVID-19 overall in the Cayman Islands stands at 201, of which 194 people have fully recovered.

Nearly 1,600 people have been tested since the last government press conference on 26 June, with five of them returning positive results.

“We have successfully shielded ourselves from the pandemic, which sadly, across the world is accelerating,” Governor Martyn Roper said.

Restrictions to be eased again on Sunday

Cayman remains at Level 2 of government’s COVID-19 suppression plan and there are more restrictions which are set to be eased on Sunday 5 July.

They include:

  • Educational facilities (including summer camps and bible schools) may open and participants may engage on social and sporting activities. However, no contact sports are allowed until 19 July.
  • Restaurants and bars will be able to serve patrons inside or outside at their facilities.
  • Tables at restaurants/bars will need to be six feet apart, versus the eight-feet previously required.
  • Persons sitting at the same table who do not live in the same household need to remain three-feet away from each other. The previous requirement was six feet.
  • Restaurant and bar staff must continue to wear masks or face coverings
  • Strata and public gyms are able to open
  • Travel from Grand Cayman to the Sister Islands is possible after notifying the Medical Officer of Health, taking a test for COVID-19 and testing negative.

Click here for a full list of Cayman’s Level 2 suppression measures plan, outlined by the Premier last month.

UK not requiring Caymanians to quarantine

Caymanians – or citizens from all 14 British Overseas Territories – travelling to the United Kingdom will not have to quarantine once they land, the UK announced today.

“I think this is really good news and I’m delighted that Cayman is included in the list of countries and territories whose citizens do not need to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in the UK.”

The exemptions will apply for those travelling on the airbridge to London, the next which is scheduled for 31 July. There’s another scheduled for 28 Aug. Those flights are to enable students to travel back to the UK and commence their studies. Passengers who have previously expressed interest in these flights would have been contacted by the Governor’s Office this week. Students and family members who were not contacted but would like to book a spot on one of the flights should email [email protected]

When asked about travel to the UK, the Premier said he would not advise his children to travel there before the year’s end.

“I wouldn’t send my children to the UK or the US under the current environment,” McLaughlin said. The Governor responded by saying he would feel comfortable with his children travelling to the UK.

Those travelling from the UK to Grand Cayman will still be required to isolate at a government facility.

Other than those wishing to travel to the UK, anyone wishing to travel to, from or within the Cayman Islands whether by air or sea should contact the TravelTime website.

Two Cayman Islands flights left for Miami on Friday as well as a flight bound for India through London carrying more than 270 Indian citizens.

Roper said arranging the flight to India has been the “most challenging” of all the flights his office has worked to arrange.

There are three more repatriation flights to Miami scheduled for this month, on 8 July and 10 July.

There are also three flights scheduled for Kingston, Jamaica  on 4 July, 9 July and 11 July.

Roper said the Governor’s Office continues to work with the Nicaraguan government to arrange a flight there and has been asked to provide details on passengers wishing to travel to that country. No agreement, however, has been reached.

Focus on international travel

Premier McLaughlin said cabinet and several teams within government continue to look at options on how to open Cayman’s borders to international travel, which, as of right now, is scheduled to happen on 1 Sept.

Among the options being explored are travel bubbles, rapid testing and logistics of testing a potential visitor at their place of origin versus testing them once they’ve arrived. The Premier indicated it might be easier to first allow property owners or those who intend on staying in Cayman for a longer period of time to visit versus those who would only plan to stay a week or so.

The situation is complicated by the spike of cases in the United States, particularly in the state of Florida.

The panel indicated that they are keeping an eye on developments in other Caribbean countries that opened their borders before Cayman.

“Definitely, we have to pay attention,” Health Minister Dwayne Seymour said. “Trying to find methods for us to be able to open our borders in a safe way.

“There’s a lot of discussion to be had as to how we do that. There’s no clear blueprint.”

The panel several times has been asked about letting arriving passengers isolate at home or a private residence versus having to stay at the government isolation facility. The Premier in the past has said government doubts everyone would follow home isolation protocol.

“We’re not quite there yet,” Hazard Management Cayman Islands Director Danielle Coleman said figuring out how home isolation might work.

Business support programmes

McLaughlin said the Cayman Islands Centre for Business Develop micro and small business loan programme has paid out just more than $1 million to 178 business owners since April.

Another $414,000 has been approved to be paid and, based on the 950 applications received, government has committed $2.6 million to the programme, according to the Premier.

The CICBD has also approved five businesses under its low-interest loan programme. The amount of the approved loans totals $415,000. Another five applicants are being assessed.

There have been 65 applicants in all, with a total value of loans worth $2.21 million.

A technical assistance programme has also been set up to assist business owners prepare necessary documents.

Those interested in the programmes can contact the CICBD at 244-8009 or [email protected]

Testing numbers down

Dr. Lee said testing numbers have gone down because not everyone who is being contacted to come forward for testing has done so.

“We would be keen for people to come forward,” Dr. Lee said, adding that anyone can register to be tested by going to this website.

There are 63 people currently in government isolation facilities and 23 isolating at home.

Antibody testing

Dr. Lee said 994 have undergone antibody testing in Cayman, with about two-thirds of those tests being done by the Health Services Authority.

Forty-one people have been shown to have COVID-19 antibodies. Of those, 33 are people who are known to have had COVID-19 by way of PCR testing. There are three people who are contacts of people who are known to have tested positive for COVID-19 and there are five others with no history of positive results or contact with those who have tested positive.

Dr. Lee also said there nine people who tested negative for having antibodies but had previously tested positive for COVID-19 by way of PCR test.

HSA resumes childhood immunization programme

The childhood immunization programme will resume starting this month with an island-wide campaign across all districts in the Cayman Islands, according to The Health Services Authority.

This initiative is organized by the HSA and Department of Public Health to reduce the backlog of missed immunizations following the brief suspension of some childhood immunization services due to the Government’s stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders over the past three months.

The national immunization campaign will also include the yearly school entry vaccines undertaken by the Public Health Department.

Parents with booked appointments that were cancelled due to the stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders will be contacted to have these appointments rescheduled.

The Public Health Department will expand access to vaccination programmes through the District Health Centres with special clinic hours as follows:

  • Eastern Districts – 20-24 July
  • West Bay – 27-31 July
  • George Town – 2-7 Aug.
  •  For Faith Hospital in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman Clinic: Residents should contact Faith Hospital to make arrangements.

Additional clinics may also be available during the week of 17 Aug. for parents and children who are returning to the island later or missed the district sessions.

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1 COMMENT

  1. As a property owner, I would jump at the opportunity to test in my Country and bring those results with me. What I do not want to do is test in my Country, land in Cayman and then be forced to isolate for two weeks in a Government location I have to pay for.

    I understand the Governments concern related to opening it’s borders, but Cayman will have to open at some point, it can not self sustain indefinitely, it will need outside foreign money.

    Fingers crossed the Border Comm