The first month under Cayman’s phased reopening is nearing its end and already 865 people have participated in government’s home-isolation programme, director of Travel Cayman Tasha Ebanks-Garcia has said.
As of 29 Oct., 496 people were quarantining at home, Ebanks-Garcia said during an interview Wednesday on the Cayman Compass weekly talk show ‘The Resh Hour’.
“70% of people who come off flights want to quarantine at a residence,” she said.
Ebanks-Garcia added that government has sufficient supplies of the iMSafe electronic wristbands and cellphones to continue the programme, even if the number of people in home isolation remains high.
She said the monitoring and surveillance of those in home isolation has been effective, especially since the introduction of fines for those breaching the quarantine protocols. The increased number, she said, adds to the workload because all the homes have to be inspected to ensure the residences meet government requirements.
“But we also have to ensure that we have enough boots on the ground that are going out and doing compliance and welfare checks,” she added.
As it stands, she said, the geofencing technology will give an alert when a person in isolation leaves the geofence area. However, it will not send an alert when an unauthorised person comes into the geofence area, which is why the regulations were necessary.
On 23 Oct., legislators approved changes to the Public Health Law to increase fines for those breaching home-isolation regulations. The fines will be raised from $1,000 to $10,000 and from six months to two years in prison. Additionally, a continuing offence after conviction incurs a fine of $500 for each day of infraction.
The law changes, piloted by Health Minister Dwayne Seymour, were approved on second reading in the Legislative Assembly.
Meanwhile, Ebanks-Garcia said the response to the new Travel Cayman portal has been positive and they are continuing to iron out the chinks in the systems. Since the portal went live earlier this month, more than 1,000 applications have been received.
“We have already issued 533 certificates. So around 45% of the applications that have been submitted have been approved, so we are able to turn them around relatively quickly,” she said.
Ebanks-Garcia said December applications on the Travel Cayman portal will be opened from 9 Nov. for December flights. She added that testing will be done on Christmas Day for those whose quarantine period will end on 25 Dec.