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16 Apr 2020 | 12:11 AM UTC

Cayman Islands: Authorities extend suspension of all international passenger flights April 15 /update 3

Cayman Islands suspends all international passenger flights until further notice amid COVID-19 concerns on April 15; adhere to directives issued by local authorities

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Event

Authorities announced on Wednesday, April 15, the closure of all airports in the Cayman Islands to all inbound and outbound international passenger flights has been extended until further notice, in efforts to curb the spread of the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

According to reports, couriers, cargo flights, and air ambulance services continue to operate. Inter-island flights remain operational, however, flights from Grand Cayman to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman islands have been limited to essential personnel and residents only. Daily curfews remain in place.

A nationwide curfew is in effect across the Cayman Islands. 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.

Public meetings and gatherings of two people or more remain banned until further notice, excluding at hospitals, supermarkets, and pharmacies. According to reports, restaurants are open for drive-through delivery and pick-up only. Establishments such as bars, spas, gyms, hairdressers, and public and private strata swimming pools are also closed. Taxi services are limited amid the lockdown measures, with a two passenger maximum enforced and bus services have also been suspended.

As of April 15, 60 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one associated fatality have been reported by health officials. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

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.

Advice

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.