On Saturday, March 28, a nationwide curfew came into effect across the Cayman Islands to prevent further spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Per the directive, a daytime "soft curfew" will run from 05:00 until 19:00 (local time), during which limited movement to conduct essential tasks is permitted. Essential outings include those to health care facilities, supermarkets, pharmacies, retail banks, building societies and credit unions, and gas stations. An overnight "hard curfew" will follow from 19:00 until 05:00, which requires the closure of all nonessential businesses. Persons considered to be essential staff will be exempt from the restrictions.
As of Monday, March 30, provisions are in place in supermarkets to ensure proper social distancing. Adults with a last name beginning in "A" through "K" will be allowed to enter supermarkets in order to shop for essential goods on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while those with a last name beginning in "L" through "Z" will be permitted to shop on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Similar measures were enacted for retail banks on Tuesday, March 31. As such, adults with a last name beginning in "A" through "K" will be allowed to enter banks in order to carry out essential transactions on Mondays and Wednesdays, while adults with a last name beginning in "L" through "Z" will be allowed to conduct transactions on Tuesdays and Thursday. All individuals will be permitted to enter banks on Fridays.
To date, there are 22 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands, with one associated death. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.