Curfews to be extended and expanded

| 02/04/2020 | 255 Comments
Cayman News Service
Premier Alden McLaughlin at Thursday’s press briefing

(CNS): As the battle to suppress COVID-19 in the Cayman community continues, alongside the news of a future mass testing campaign, Premier Alden McLaughlin said he is also extending and expanding the curfews. The hard evening curfew, which is due to end Friday, will be extended for two more weeks, while the soft curfew will be renewed Monday for two weeks with changes and additional restrictions.

Once government formalises the curfew orders, which they will do tomorrow (Friday 3 April), there will be a hard curfew every Sunday all day for everyone. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, only people with last names beginning with A-K will be allowed on the road for essential purposes from 5am to 7pm. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, only people with last names beginning with L-Z will be allowed on the road during the soft curfew.

The exception may be for exercising near to home, McLaughlin said at Thursday’s COVID-19 press briefing, which will be confirmed on Friday. The premier explained that Cabinet had not yet made a decision as this presented a more unique challenge when it comes to balancing people’s well-being with the difficulties police have enforcing the soft curfew.

The premier said he was increasingly concerned about the state of play in Cayman. While the most recent positive tests are all related directly to other positive cases, indicating that there is still no significant evidence of widespread community transmission, he said there was still too many people on the road that did not need to be.

“It is still possible to contain this virus in these islands and to avoid widespread transmission,” he said, noting that government had done almost everything it could to try to prevent the coronavirus spreading as it has in so many other countries in the world. But he lamented the continued lack of cooperation in some quarters.

He said there was an apparent lack of understanding by some about the gravity of the situation, pointing again to pool owners and the service companies looking after them, as he made the obvious point that cleaning pools is not an emergency.

The premier outlined the extension and expansion of the curfews to reduce the number of people who are on the road unnecessarily. Confirmed that the formal orders will be implanted tomorrow, he said that he wanted to give notice of what was planned and encourage people to cut down their human interaction.

“We do not believe… that the present way people are behaving can be allowed to continue,” McLaughlin said, adding that there was too much activity which was undermining government’s strategy, which to succeed “requires social distancing”.

He said government had scrutinized what has worked in other countries. The first thing to do is suppression, social distancing and bans on people gathering, which is critical to containing the spread.

Mass testing is the second thing, which Cayman has not managed yet because of the lack of test kits. However, next week when a new batch arrives, testing will begin to increase and when the 200,000 kits from South Korea arrive, everyone will be tested.

The final part after testing is the tracing, so that those who are positive can be identified and properly quarantined.

But the most important factor in all of these elements is still isolation, McLaughlin said, as he hammered home again the need for people to stay home and practice social distancing. “If you are in isolation, there is no one you can give it to and no one you can get it from,” he said, adding that every human interaction increases that risk of community spread.

The premier warned over and over, as he has now every day for almost two weeks, that if the virus begins to spread widely throughout the community because people are not keeping their distance, the lockdown measures will last for months, not weeks.

In the effort to save lives, he urged people to endure some suffering now for a short period instead of more suffering for a much longer period down the line, plus the risk of significant loss of life here.

The premier confirmed that members of the public who are sticking to the rules but have concerns about others breaching curfew should report them to the police on direct lines to officers, including the commissioner for those who have his number. They can also call 911.

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Category: Laws, Local News, Politics

Comments (255)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    You guys are doing a wonderful job – and we fully understand your motives in all aspects … just one heads … please try to get these opportunists “out of here” ASAP.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If any society has to lock its people up in a hard curfew during the day on a routine basis it has failed. I understand why the government feels it has to do this but it is actually an admission of failure and all it will do is generate anger and mistrust of the authorities. It is now clear this government has no real plan apart from a knee jerk reaction to lock us all down. The problem is the virus isn’t going away. It will be here 1 month from now and 1 year from now. So locking us up now or closing Cayman off to the world in the future doesn’t deal with the inherent problem, it delays the inevitable and in doing so causes major economic distress and a massive rise in mental stress which will appear in domestic violence, depression and self harm including suicides over the next few years. We need a real plan. 1. Protect the vulnerable. 2. Realize that for the vast majority of people this isn’t a death sentence but an illness which they will fully recover from. 3. Devise a plan to allow the vast majority of the population to get on with their daily lives while protecting the vulnerable and allowing the health services here to cope as the virus does what it will do. 4. Recognize that the virus will be around for years to come and that, when the peak has passed in the US and Europe, we need to open up the island and move on. You cannot beat nature, you have to figure out how to go along with it with the minimal number of people affected.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I appreciate what the government is doing. However, I am concerned that there may well be many hungry Caymanians who suddenly no longer have an income. Let’s face it, with the cost of living in Cayman, most of us are not rich. Being faced suddenly with no income with children to feed must be hard. I see Cayman’s ARK and Meals on Wheels etc. begging for supplies. The Govt. seems to brush aside any questions, or answer contact NAU. I know even before this crisis NAU were over run and it was taking months for people to get through with help. What is the immediate plan for your own people? This cannot just be ignored or swept under the carpet. Please do not get me wrong. I believe everyone who is struggling must be helped and we should help each other as much as we can but Govt. does have a responsibility to its own people and I haven’t heard anything about giving out food vouchers or funds to Caymanians in need

    • Anonymous says:

      Help those that is willing and trying to help themselves and the elderly only. Not the lazy ones that always wants a hand out and not trying themselves

  4. Anonymous says:

    5.55pm. 👍🏽. This is ridiculous that these stupid people will not conform. I say arrest them on the spot, put them in detention and ASAP jail the Caymanians and deport the expats – including all Status and PR holders.

    We are in a serious, serious mess – right now we are under a national threat and imagine big countries are able to lockdown and we cannot control this little Island. Damn shame, shame, shame to say the least.. These a … h… are putting everyone in danger. This is some serious shit. Must stop proactively!!

    • Anonymous says:

      If you have status then you ARE Caymanian. Ask Big Mac. If you can find him. Isn’t he lying low these days?

  5. Anonymous says:

    How many of these new ‘community transmission’ cases came from the flights returning two weeks ago? Why were those passengers not quarantined? Why, you tell me. I know why, but what is government’s excuse?!

    • Anonymous says:

      All of them, given the timing. So what’s the reason genius.

    • Anonymous says:

      you wont get answers from the cig who are responsible for bringing corona here through their own incompetence…
      but alden still blames the private sector everyday……zzzzzzzzzzzzz

      • Anonymous says:

        1.33am can’t agree with you on blaming the Premier – incompetence yes, but from credible sources i heard it was not him that gave the boat permission, I think he was off Island – go figure who it was… he hiding now!!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am both, thanks.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Alden, Jon Jon, his Excellency and their Teams are doing a great job. Why dont you all stop criticising and shut up and STAY HOME. DO YOU PART.

  8. Anonymous says:

    BVI total curfew for 14 days, after giving residents warning to stock up on groceries for 2 weeks.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Pity we can’t exercise on Sunday’s though. I was rather hoping we could do that (without using a vehicle) and keep it local.

    • Anonymous says:

      4;58pm what an idiot u r!!!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Why. Explain how his taking a walk outside his house and not talking to anyone is a risk. How is that idiotic? You worried that he will be off to Fosters to s[read disease? Having a street party? What exactly makes him an idiot for hoping for that concession?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Regarding govt briefings. Please can you lot be professional and start on time?!! It is extremely disrespectful to make the entire country wait. The first few delays were forgivable, now it seems to have become a habit.
    What’s more, they are dragging out unnecessarily. Give Dwayne a radio slot and remove him from the panel, his ramblings don’t contribute anything,

    • Anon says:

      4.16pm I could not agree more, could we please have a FIRM time, make it later in the day if necessary, but don’t keep thousands of viewers waiting for hours. This is unprofessional and shows complete disrespect for the public and reverts to the “soon come” complex that is so pervasive in Cayman. As for Dwayne if we have to listen to the script someone wrote for him could someone else read it at the briefing.

  11. Anonymous says:

    During these interesting times, would you rather be right or happy?

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