Mask mandate to remain until end of April

| 22/03/2022 | 156 Comments
Health Minister Sabrina Turner at the press briefing

(CNS): The government is not yet ready to lift any of its COVID-19 protocols and the health minister has indicated that even school children will need to continue wearing masks until at least the end of April. Sabrina Turner has said that Cabinet is still discussing the mask mandate for indoors, and with the return of cruise ships, based on an abundance of caution and advice from health experts, masks are still necessary when people are inside and where social distancing is challenging.

Speaking at the press briefing on Friday, Turner said that the requirement to wear masks indoors will remain until the end of the current regulation period, at the end of next month, when the mandate will be re-assessed.

“As it is right now with the introduction of cruise, as we relax other areas we felt it was the right thing to do to keep it in place just for a few more weeks,” she said.

Turner also said that while government was considering the mask mandate in schools, that was also remaining in place until the vaccination numbers for children aged five to twelve increased. “It’s a combination of factors that will lead us down that path,” she added, in reference to students wearing masks.

Interim Chief Medical Officer Dr Autilia Newton said that to date, only 340 children have had the first dose of a vaccine but she was hopeful that things would pick up, despite having a long way to go. According to the census, there are more than 5,100 children living in the Cayman Islands in this age group.

Premier Wayne Panton said that many countries are moving away from mask mandates even where they have high levels of infection, but he believed this was driven by political reasons.

“Our concern is to try to make sure that the health of our people comes first,” he said, adding that they were following the science and the advice of experts. “That effectively suggests we are not just yet at the point where we think it is safe to completely drop the mask requirement.”

However, he said the government was keeping it under review, “and it may be in four or five weeks’ time we can take a look at that… If we feel it’s safe, we are happy to consider that.”

Panton said the mask mandates would not be relaxed just because others were doing it, but if the paediatric vaccine rate increased and the infection numbers continue to decline, by the end of April, when the current COVID-19 rules expire, then it may become a choice rather than a requirement.

See the press briefing below on CIGTV:


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Comments (156)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    “Now is the time for the Administration to sunset federal transportation travel restrictions – including the international pre-departure testing requirement and the federal mask mandate – that are no longer aligned with the realities of the current epidemiological environment” – American, United, Delta, Southwest Airline CEO’s

  2. Anonymous says:

    Some of the schools are having vaccination drives, where the HSA is pushing the nearly expired vaccines on our kids. Very inappropriate and just plain wrong.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you are the parent, all you have say is ‘no’. Duh!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Lol. Vaccines don’t go bad just because they’re approaching their expiration date. They are good until the expiration date.

      Do you throw out your milk if it’s going to expire the next month?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like Cayman needs a Trucker’s Convoy, to wake these WEF cult puppets up.

  4. Concerned says:

    Yo, there is no way they are going to increase vaccination numbers in children. Tone deaf. Getting sick and building immunity is part of being a kid. Masks at school is beyond stupid at the point. Also tired of seeing masks floating the the sea or on the ground. The environmental impact alone should be enough to stop this. Can’t imagine how many masks and LFTs are in mount trashmore.

  5. Clydesdale says:

    The best way to get rid of masks in schools is to send your child to school without a mask. #simples

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    • Anonymous says:

      Nope. At our school they call the parent and make them bring one. The child is isolated until wearing a mask.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, but what if ALL the kids left their mask at home?

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        • Anonymous says:

          So childish 0:23

        • Anonymous says:

          @9:23:
          That “What if” is silly. There are prudent parents who insist on their children wearing their masks. So, your kids will sit it out in isolation while our kids receive an education.

        • Anonymous says:

          My child won’t be leaving his mask at home and I’m sure there are other children and parents that have more sense than that. Instead of asking to stop wearing masks, maybe you should ask the Education department to install air filtration systems. There is no sense in just making covid run rampant through the schools. As evidenced by the 3 year old, children can get deathly ill. Long Covid is real. I met someone at the hospital with it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What about the pre-arrival testing. When will this be dropped for vaccinated persons (Caymanian, Resident, Tourists)?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Funny thing is that if government relaxes rules people cry foul and if they tighten or keep rules people will also cry foul.

    So what is the fix? Best governments around the world can hope for is to try to lessen the economic impact on its healthcare systems and stop lockdowns and curfews, etc. as it has been proven they to take a toll on the people’s social and mental well being that ends up causing economic harm.

    I never tell anyone stay safe as that is a false comfort and instead I say stay well. More focus on healthier lifestyles versus popping a pill for a quick fix needs to be incorporated. In some firms, businesses reward employees that claim no sick days but here it is use them or lose them. This results in people calling in sick just to avail of extra time off but only if you get paid for sick leave.

    Government should have looked into this at the start of the pandemic as some were not getting paid sick leave so this helped spread the virus more. No work no pay. Now it is the opposite as people are being told to report to work even if they are covid positive as things are picking up.

    Not one government around the world got this right as they were learning as they go and trying to adapt.

    The biggest problem from my humble estimation is that politics played a huge role and if you treat adults like children they will act like children. If you follow all of the science invest in stocks cause you will get rich as some don’t want this madness to end and the millionaires are becoming billionaires.

    To vax or not to vax – that is the question and to each his own.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I hope all you folks yelling about and blaming Panton will remember the BS we put up with for WAY too long with Alden, who wanted the new port!!!
    Anyone but him back in.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Can we finally admit how USELESS MASKS actually are?

    So now, every time you and your kids pick up your masks, you all touch potentially millions of trapped viral particles contaminating your masks, don’t you? And how many times do you pick up those masks – every hour, every day? Add it up.

    So unless you’re washing your masks each and every time you put them on and take them off – which no one will really do – you’re committing the worst sin possible: You’re contaminating yourself, your kids and potentially everyone around you with a highly concentrated virus… Get it?

    Of course you get it!

  10. Anonymous says:

    The worst imaginable government possible with the available selection of clowns

  11. Anonymous says:

    I am NOT giving a vaccine to my 10 year old. Long term effects from the vaccine are unknown and it will make little to no difference whether she gets it or not. Covid does not affect children the same way as adults – well, wearing a mask does.

    • Anonymous says:

      i trust science so ur comment on unknown long term effects could apply to anything.
      but i do agree vaccinating healthy children is a waste of time and resources.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Why are mask mandates at schools contingent on kids getting the shot, when they don’t need the shot? Completely illogical.

    The number of kids getting the shot is unlikely to increase much more, as most parents understand there is no need for their kids to get it.

    How about we follow some science?

    • Anonymous says:

      Science? The word does not exist in CIG’s dictionary.

    • Anonymous says:

      Totally ridiculous relying on the number of children vaccinated to increase! Totally unrelated to the issue or a risk analysis of mask v no mask. This analysis should be looking at the overall vaccination rate on island (very high), the inherent risk of contracting and dying from the disease (very low) to the population versus the masks’ total inability to stop the virus (true) whilst not taking into account the potential underlying damage to the development of our children. Well done CIG, once again put the children on the hook for everything! Once again CIG, its the children who have suffer for the adults’ incompetencies. Leave the poor children alone and take a sensible stand. The children have all suffered either from isolation from getting covid, school absences or from day to day wearing of idiotic face masks that do not even stop people from getting covid. #jokers

  13. Anonymous says:

    Most large business aren’t actually enforcing it anymore. Signs are up but if people don’t wear them, staff have been advised not to ask them to put them on. Which I agree with. School are forcing children to wear them, those same children play with each other every evening after school and on weekends with no masks. How does that make sense?

    • Anonymous says:

      The world where common sense existed is sadly long gone!

    • Anonymous says:

      I am a teacher in the US. The only place that I still wear a mask is at school in the classroom. It is optional, but I choose to wear a mask when I can not social distance from the youngsters that I teach to protect them and to protect myself. I do this not only from covid which I have not had yet, but also from flu or even the stomach bug. My choice, but I do not think it is a bad idea that students stay masked up a bit longer in classrooms where there a many children coughing and sneezing, all jammed in together, and windows can’t be opened. I have been teaching since July 2020 all through the pandemic and did not get covid or any other flu since masking up. I do think masks have helped keep germs away in the classroom.

      • Anonymous says:

        You should not be wearing a mask at school if optional. There are plenty studies showing evidence that it inhibits learning. Also, the mask doesn’t protect you. You may need to brush up on the facts.

        • Anonymous says:

          Hogwash. Masks do a great deal so who cares if they choose to where one? Mind your business.

        • Anonymous says:

          And there is a lot of evidence masks protect you. If masks are optional, it is a choice to wear one or not. Duh.

        • Anonymous says:

          What is your source for condemning mask wearing to lower Covid acquisition and transmission?

          The CDC upadate: “Effectiveness of Face Mask or Respirator Use in Indoor Public Settings for Prevention of SARS-CoV-2 Infection — California, February–December 2021–Weekly / February 11, 2022 / 71(6);212–216”,
          concludes:
          The use of face masks or respirators (N95/KN95) is recommended to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 (1)…
          …Always using a face mask or respirator in indoor public settings was associated with lower adjusted odds of a positive test result compared with never wearing a face mask or respirator in these settings. Among 534 participants who specified the type of face covering they typically used, wearing N95/KN95 respirators or surgical masks was associated with significantly lower adjusted odds of a positive test result compared with not wearing any face mask or respirator. These findings reinforce that in addition to being up to date with recommended COVID-19 vaccinations, consistently wearing a face mask or respirator in indoor public settings reduces the risk of acquiring SARS-CoV-2 infection. Using a respirator offers the highest level of personal protection against acquiring infection, although it is most important to wear a mask or respirator that is comfortable and can be used consistently.

          ========================
          This study still prevails as good guidance:
          “How effective is a mask in preventing COVID‐19 infection?”
          2021 Jan 5 : e10163.
          doi: 10.1002/mds3.10163 | PMCID: PMC7883189 | PMID: 33615150
          It concludes:
          The current research results have shown that COVID‐19 is mainly transmitted via droplets in the air. There is a potential risk of airborne transmission in an indoor environment with poor ventilation.
          Therefore, wearing mask in public is essential as its effectiveness has already been well established by the current studies. For exhalation isolation, both surgical and N95 masks are shown to be effective in reducing the spread of respiratory diseases, but the former is more accessible and comfortable to wear compared to the latter. For inhalation protection, air filtering respirators such as N95 masks can filtrate contaminants, bacteria and other matters from reaching nose and mouth, and are more efficient in virus penetration inhibition than surgical masks.

          Credible current educational studies are concluding that mask wearing is not an impediment to student learning. One study in progress is saying that isn’t an obstacle to learning, even for children as young as 3 or 4.
          “We’re seeing really similar amounts of talking, really similar amounts of vocabulary development, language growth, language development, with or without masks, says Lynn Perry, an associate professor in the psychology department at the University of Miami. The team also found that the complexity of speech sounds was higher in children wearing masks. “Maybe they talk a little bit more to get their meaning across,” Perry says. “Maybe the teachers change the way that they’re talking to make sure that they’re being understood.”
          ==================
          We can safely conclude that wearing a properly fitting, good quality mask will aid in preventing acquisition and transmission of the Covid virus. Giving the issue logical consideration, if this were not so, then it would be silly for medical personnel caring for Covid-positive patients to mask-up to prevent acquisition of the infection. Teachers and the general public do well to protect themselves by masking up. I shall continue to wear my mask until I am comfortable not doing so. I would encourage others to ignore the anti-mask babblers as they are irrelevant sources of background noise: do what you believe will protect you and others.

        • Anonymous says:

          The biggest inhibitor to learning is going home to parents who earned their degree on Facebook.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I only feel safe each week when the front door attendant at Fosters sprays the magic spray on one of my hands.

    It has saved my life numerous times.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    “Dr Autilia Newton said that to date, only 340 children have had the first dose of a vaccine but she was hopeful that things would pick up….”

    Why would things pick up?

    • Anonymous says:

      No chance it’s going to pick up, because it’s unnecessary

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m fully for vaccinated adults but my kids are not unhealthy one bit. I’ll wait on that for a bit longer before putting something that doesn’t last or possibly work on the next variant.

      • Anonymous says:

        And I expect you believe that god created the world in 7 days. You have to believe in science and while there are unvaccinated ppl in this world the virus is going no-where. You religious cults need to find an island to go and live on by yourselves and move back into the dark ages.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Tweeted from Dr. Eric Topol this evening:

    “Covid ICU hospitalizations are already at the US pandemic low. With another decline of 700 hospitalizations today, and accounting for a higher proportion of “with” Covid, we are likely at or approaching the lowest number of severe Covid in the US since this all started 👍”

    https://twitter.com/EricTopol/status/1506403128236658688

    • Anonymous says:

      U.S. COVID update:

      – New cases: 25,408
      – Average: 29,670 (+10)
      – States reporting: 41/50
      – Dominant: Omicron BA.1.1
      – In hospital: 18,226 (-571)
      – In ICU: 3,286 (-84)
      – New deaths: 1,080
      – Average: 1,013 (-34)

      1080 new “mild” deaths

      • Anonymous says:

        1000 deaths / 350m
        100 deaths / 35m
        10 deaths / 3.5m
        1 death / 350k
        .1 death / 35 k
        .2 deaths / 70k

        By these numbers, with a relatively low vaccination rate and zero restrictions wold translate to a death every five days in Cayman or 73 deaths a year.

        That said, vaccination reduces death rate by 5x, so a 90% vaccination rate in Cayman vs 65% in the US plus the outdoor lifestyle here is why our death rate is substantially lower.

        Low enough that we can move on from this, unless a more dangerous variant emerges.

        • Anonymous says:

          Shhhh!!! 9:35… You are hurting people! It seems that the math and stats are like Kryptonite to a good number of commenters here. It causes them actual pain. They would rather contract Covid than suffer accepting the math and science.
          Adding to what you wrote, the Cayman islands also have had far higher compliance to masking up and social distancing than the USA. Every little bit has helped us.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Sabrina, you just are in over your head. Masks are so 2020. By the way, how many did you have arrested for not reporting positive LFT tests, Sabrina and CIG fire, ready, aim.

  18. Anonymous says:

    The UK has legalized gay marriage. Why can’t Cayman do the same? If we follow the UK with the masks, we should follow with all of their laws.

    • Anonymous says:

      You don’t have to wear masks in England. You don’t need PCR/LFT before flying.
      We are not following England (part of the U.K.) re covid, but I agree gay marriage should be allowed here.

    • Anonymous says:

      You mean like the income tax laws?

  19. Anonymous says:

    With the UK and USA starting to rage again, it might be a lot longer before those masks come off..

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh please, stop it already. No one is worried about COVID anymore. No one.

      I will not take health advice from the premier and health minister, two morbidly obese people. Great example.

    • Anonymous says:

      England is getting on with living with COVID. True, infections were rising until yesterday, but serious illness and deaths are extremely low.
      Stop the obsession with infection and get on with life.

    • Anonymous says:

      Feel free to move to Asia if you want to wear your stupid mask.

      • Anonymous says:

        You’re an aXX XXXX! How does someone wearing a mask affect you?

        • Anonymous says:

          The point is it should be a personal choice, not dictated by politicians not knowing what they are talking about or who are acting on non-science lead agendas……

    • Anonymous says:

      RAGE AGAIN……You have no idea what you are talking about.

  20. Annoyed says:

    This makes zero sense. But totally not surprised. Geez when are elections again?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Masks like travel time need to go.

  22. Anonymous says:

    We are still the only place on Earth doing quarantine exit PCRs. Who are those for?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Just like the quarantine, the mask mandate will end with the virus still spreading as predicted 18 months ago by many.

    So we’ll keep playing the virtue signaling idiot game of wearing masks that leak air from every direction for a little longer.

    • Anonymous says:

      You sound like an expert. Where did you get your infectious disease training?

      • Anonymous says:

        You don’t need to be an expert to observe the obvious. Two years of lockdowns and mandates using ineffective cloth and paper masks did not stop the spread of Covid. Scotland and Wales were a clear example of this with their Christmas lockdowns, seeing infection rates higher than England’s.
        Just look at China, an authoritarian country that regularly used masks pre-Covid and have the most stringent lockdowns on the planet. But look where they are now, still trying to fight for zero Covid and failing.
        That doesn’t take an expert, just someone who doesn’t rely on incompetent political statements to understand the reality of the past two years. Get jabbed and get on with life.

      • Anonymous says:

        And you sound like an obedient drone who can neither think for yourself nor use any common sense.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Same place as Sabrina.

    • Anonymous says:

      you would think after 2 years that you would have learned how to wear a mask correctly.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please do tell us how to wear a mask “correctly” so that air does not leak out the sides? Does a leaky boat float?

        • Anonymous says:

          A proper mask (real N95, not knock offs) does not “leak air out the sides”. The majority of “masks” that people are wearing (cloth especially) will not filter out viruses even if they did seal to the face properly.

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