(CMR) The Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee stated at today’s press conference that he is prepared to utilize the Public Health Law to force returning residents to self-quarantine for some 14 days as previously requested. This proclamation was made at the beginning of the daily press briefing amid concerns that returning college students, in particular, would not be taking the self-isolation recommendations seriously. Violators could soon be facing prosecution and fines up to $1,000 and face up to six months in jail.
Up to this point, the Premier had indicated that it was merely a recommendation. However, Dr. Lee informed the country today that as the “most senior public health official” in the Cayman Islands he has the legal power to make this recommendation enforceable by law. The Premier further indicated the respective regulations would be ready by early next week.
This comes after several persons including one local political posted on social media that they had seen returning students out and about after returning to the island earlier in the week.
This legal mandate would give authorities the ability to legally enforce the quarantine. The government has made provisions for returning students and essential workers to stay at several local hotels if they are unable to return to their homes.
Countries around the world indicated that the most effective way of containing the virus and flattering the spread of the disease is to engage in social distancing, hand washing and self-isolation if they have traveled to infected countries. What appears to be a heavy-handed measured is said to be necessary in order to avoid any potential curfew.
When asked about enforcement options and how the authorities would know if someone was breaking the law the Premier expressed that it would be necessary for the community to assist the police in this effort.
Several other areas have already implemented curfews to curtail spring breakers partying and hanging out at the pubic beaches. Curfews were rolled out this week in both South and Central Florida.
Thus far, Cayman has three confirmed positive cases out of some 88 tested. All confirmed cases so far have been at Health City. The latest two results are said to be one of the attending physician and an ICU nurse.