(CMR) During today's daily press briefing government have confirmed that Cayman now has eight persons with COVID-19 disease. A previous test that was sent off as preliminarily negative was reversed by The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) as being positive.
Dr. Lee indicated that they will now be amending the tests that they sent to be more thorough in their approach but that the screen test now being used is more sensitive. There was also a call for further testing materials that are in short supply. He indicated that more are being sourced but there's a worldwide shortage. Premier McLaughlin also confirmed that we do not have the ability to follow the World Health Organization's recommending to “test, test and test”.
The government will be implementing an immediate complete 24/7 lockdown for the next few days. The lockdown begins this evening at 7:00 pm tonight and goes until Saturday morning at 5:00 am. The Premier shared that this decision was an “agonizing” one but completely necessary. There should be no movement during this complete shutdown. Further, no business that is not on the exemption list will be permitted to operate. After Saturday we will return to the nightly curfew hours subject to review.
All businesses will now closed so that all persons can remain home in complete isolation with hopes of containing community spread of this disease. The government read an extensive list of persons who are exempt during the curfew. However, he indicated that anyone who feels that they need to be included on the list should contact them via email.
He stressed that exemptions are not giving for an entire company giving the example of one company that requested 700 employees be exempted.
He further explained that the measures are extreme and they are aware of that but the end goal is to get this matter under control. He stated if we can get over the “fear of this evil lurking in the community” by early next week. He stressed that the two week period of no new entries allowed into the island allows the government to focus on eliminating local transmission. If this is achieved then the local community would be able to get back to some sense of normalcy and schools and businesses could re-open.
The initial night of curfew saw only one arrest and Governor Roper indicated it went extremely well and he was pleased thus far with the results. Police Commissioners Derek Byrne said they encountered some 42 persons on the roads that produced respective documentation. The one arrest was a person who turned violent and several others were warned for prosecution.
If anyone has flu-like symptoms they are to contact the flu-line. Anyone else who has any emergency needs or visits to the Health Services Authority MUST phone the hospital before entry. The point was stressed by HSA CEO, Lizette Yearwood.
Anyone that was to attend court tomorrow should contact the court's office for further details.
The press briefing saw Minister of Health, Dwayne Seymour revert to a prayer asking for God's mercies on all of us.