We are doing our best to prevent it, but if not, together we are prepared.
George Town, Cayman Islands (6 March, 2020) – For more than a decade, Public Health, Customs and Border Control, the Shipping Agents, the Cruise Lines and the respective Government Ministries have worked collaboratively with the Port Authority to prevent and contain the spread of infectious diseases in the maritime domain and to the Cayman Islands in particular. We have dealt with outbreaks of the Norwalk virus and never has there been a known case of it spreading to the local community. Cayman Public Health’s guidelines have been implemented and followed during the SARS, MERS and Ebola virus disease epidemics and the Cayman Islands remained safe. We would like to assure the public that we are still working together as the world faces the threat and spread of the novel Coronavirus disease, COVID-19.
We want to share with you some of the procedures that now take place in the cruise industry to prevent a potential infection spreading between the cruise ships and our community:
- The cruise lines screen all passengers to determine if they have been to, or passed through an area impacted by the virus, or if they have been in close contact with persons who may have contracted the virus up to 14 days prior to the cruise. If they are found to be a potential risk, they and their travel companions are not allowed to travel.
- Health officials observe the guests constantly, looking for evidence of respiratory or other illnesses (e.g. fever, cough, difficulty breathing). Those with severe symptoms are also not allowed to travel.
- Should any illness arise while passengers are on a cruise, the information is shared with the Port Authority, Public Health and Customs and Border Control prior to the vessel arriving in Cayman.
- It is common for some passengers to develop ‘flu like symptoms, just like it is on land, even though they have no relevant travel history.
- Cayman’s Public Health officials evaluate each circumstance and advise on the appropriate action to take, which can range from preventing the individuals from disembarking, to preventing the ship from landing.
The Coronavirus has symptoms which are similar to many respiratory viral conditions and most people only develop mild symptoms and then recover. However, as the world is now a global community, viruses can spread much further and more rapidly than ever before because of international travel.
Caymanians travel abroad every day for business and pleasure, just as the visitors to our islands, who are an essential part of Cayman’s economy. The World Health Organisation does not recommend any travel or trade restriction based on the current information available. This allows the economies of the world the ability to continue to function and permits essential activities like the delivery of food, medicines and supplies. The key thing is for the Public to know what to do should someone suspect they might have developed COVID-19.
The Public Health Department of the Cayman Islands has published guidelines, which we all can follow in an effort to slow the arrival of COVID-19 to our shores, or to contain it when it comes. We do not need to fear it if we understand and know what to do if faced with it. We are doing our best to prevent it, but if not, together we are prepared.
To keep updated on reliable and factual information on the Coronavirus please refer to official government sources:
For general information on the coronavirus visit www.gov.ky/coronavirus
or for public health specific information visit www.hsa.ky/public-health/coronavirus
The Port Authority of the Cayman Islands,
Customs and Border Control,
Ministry of Tourism,
Ministry of Health and the Department of Public Health.