(CMR) The Ministry of Health held a press conference this morning amid concerns that several persons have traveled via numerous international airlines into the Cayman Islands that may be at higher risk of contracting the 2019-nCo (Coronavirus). Although the Minister, Honourable Dwayne Seymour, made no mention of any possible reported cases CMR understands that there are several that have been reported to the local health authorities by Cayman’s Border Control agency.
Public Health has been informed of at least a hand full of cases of concern according to sources. CMR was informed over the weekend that one Chinese Cayman resident was allowed in with no flagging or additional measures taken to screen her. She arrived on Friday from China via New York on Cayman Airways and had spent the past month in China.
Some countries are taking additional steps of instituting a travel ban including Jamaica; who took the measure in the wake of the World Health Organization declaration of the novel Coronavirus as a global health emergency. Most major US airlines have taken similar steps.
Multiple countries including New Zealand, Philippines, Australia, Japan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Israel, Iraq, and parts of South Korea. Vietnam on Saturday became the latest country to try to close itself off from the world’s most populous country, barring all flights from and to China. Hong Kong is considering implementing its own travel ban as well.
So far in the Caribbean, Dominica, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago, have placed travel restrictions on persons traveling to or from China.
In the US, government officials urged residents not to travel to China, issuing a level 4 travel advisory. For Americans who traveled there in the past 14 days, the US Department of Homeland Security said there are a total of 11 designated airports — including John F. Kennedy International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport — where travelers can enter the US.
Despite this lack of local controls, the government said in a press conference this morning that they are closely monitoring the situation but will not be instituting as travel bans which he termed as “racial profiling”.
According to the Minister of Health, The Honourable Dwayne Seymour,
“highly visible information for arriving passengers will be placed at the ports within days. The Customs and Border officers are already screening all arriving passengers for travel histories to China who will be notified to the Department of Public Health. Public Health will then monitor these people for the incubation period and support their healthcare needs as necessary.”
“We heard the numbers from the different countries being affected… [these are not] not only Chinese travellers,” said the Minister.
Local officials appear happy to rely on the screening of passengers on cruise ships by the ships themselves. Other Caribbean governments have been more proactive. Both St. Lucia and the government of Dominica refused to allow the Aida Perla entry over the weekend after it was reported that several passengers were suffering from “upper respiratory tract infections.”