Cayman sells excess test kits to Bermuda

| 11/04/2020 | 4 Comments
Cayman News Service
Test kits from South Korea unloaded in Cayman

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Government has sold the outstanding shipment of 35,000 COVID-19 test kits to Bermuda after receiving a consignment last week of 165,000 from South Korea, which is more than enough for the public health authorities to ramp up testing here to the levels needed. Premier Alden McLaughlin confirmed the sale at Thursday’s press briefing, stating that Cayman had “well in excess of what we need”.

The number of people testing positive for coronavirus in Bermuda is similar to the number here. As of Saturday morning, Bermuda had 48 confirmed cases with four deaths. In Cayman on Saturday morning, with no test results since Wednesday, the count stood at 45 positive samples and just one death.

McLaughlin said a decision had been taken to sell the 35,000 kits to Bermuda as they are in need and we have sufficient kits now to test every single person in Cayman if necessary. “One hand wash the other,” the premier said, noting that the two territories are doing what they can to help each other in the current circumstances.

The kits went through the UK to Bermuda, avoiding the problem of passing through the United States, where shipments of important medical supplies are being seized. While the container carrying ventilators, masks and other medical supplies bound for Cayman that was seized last week by the US authorities was returned to a vessel which is now at sea, the British Virgin Islands have become the latest victim of this US policy.

The government there is seeking help from the UK over a shipment of N-95 masks, gloves, and gowns for healthcare workers that the BVI health ministry had ordered and purchased long before the Trump administration placed a ban on shipments of this type of equipment overseas. BVI currently has just three confirmed cases of the virus and no deaths.

The US policy is causing concern, not just about medical supplies that have been manufactured and purchased in the US but also regarding equipment bought elsewhere that is passing through America en route to other destinations.

McLaughlin said Thursday that there are no guarantees at the moment that anything that transits through the US will not get stopped or seized. He said Cayman had been given assurances about the kits that were flown here from South Korea via Anchorage, Alaska, and they arrived safely. But given US policy, we cannot be sure about any shipments and cannot take anything for granted.

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Category: Health, Medical

Comments (4)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Pity you wouldn’t sell them to the U.K. because we certainly haven’t got enough!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ermmmm…can we guarantee a test here first, please?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Any quid pro quo?

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