(10 February 2020) Cabinet has approved that the 2019 novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) be added to the Schedule of Notifiable Diseases of the Public Health Law (2002 Revision). Once an illness has been added to this schedule, it provides for additional powers under the law to manage outbreaks of certain diseases.
In addition, Cabinet has approved the issuance of Regulations to control the entry of persons into the Cayman Islands who have a travel history to mainland China under the Public Health Law (2002 Revision). The intention is to limit entry for any person who has travelled to, from or through mainland China within a period of fourteen days or less immediately preceding arrival in the Cayman Islands. Therefore, if you are a returning resident, you will be quarantined under the direction of the Medical Officer of Health. Quarantine is likely to be in the persons’ home, depending on what is appropriate.
For non-residents, the quarantine will take place at a quarantine facility as designated by the Medical Officer of Health.
The following outlines the details of the 2019-nCoV travel restrictions:
- Cabinet approved the drafting of new Regulations under Section 34 of the Public Health Law (2002) to restrict the entry of visitors by aircraft or ship to the Cayman Islands if they have had a recent travel history to, from or through mainland China. At this time, this does not include Hong Kong and Macau.
- Cayman nationals and returning residents who have been to mainland China and are planning on returning or have already returned to the Cayman Islands will be subject to quarantine and surveillance for up to fourteen days since departing mainland China at a location to be determined by the Medical Officer of Health – which may be their homes in some circumstances.
- Visitors who have gained entry into the Cayman Islands who have travelled to mainland China within the last fourteen days will be quarantined at a location to be determined by the Medical Officer of Health until the expiration of the fourteen days from departing mainland China
- Increased surveillance and observation of any person with a relevant travel history to, from or through mainland China suspected to be suffering from the novel coronavirus in the Cayman Islands, which will involve the removal of persons to a place in which they will be quarantined during the incubation period (up to 14 days).
Minister for Health, Hon Dwayne Seymour, JP, MLA said, “Further to the press conference held on Monday, February 4th 2020, Cabinet has taken the advice of my Ministry to add more extensive protections to the health of our citizens from the threat of the novel Coronavirus. We appreciate how seriously this matter has been taken and the expeditious actions undertaken to help us safeguard the Public. It is important, however, that we all continue to do our part. We must remain vigilant and take personal steps to protect our own health, and be reminded of cough and sneeze etiquette, to wash our hands often and to avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of a respiratory illness.”
Residents are being reminded to “be in the know” about 2019-nCoV (the 2019 novel coronavirus) in any travel abroad and to practice general infection control measures such as:
- frequent hand cleansing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- covering nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
- avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections, and
- avoiding unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.
Public health officials are reminding arriving passengers to seek medical attention and to share their travel history with their healthcare provider if they have symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, even when arriving from other countries where cases have occurred. Common symptoms of the 2019-nCoV infection are of the respiratory system such as shortness of breath and cough, along with ‘flu-like’ symptoms and fever.
The Ministry of Health, Public Health officials and the management of the Health Services Authority confirm that at this time there are no cases of the novel coronavirus in the country. Public Health officials and the management of the Health Services Authority continues to assure the public of their capability to manage any imported cases of the novel coronavirus and continue to activate national contingency plans as needed.