Cayman Islands Recognized for Proactive Measures Against Coronavirus

Cayman Islands 7 April 2020
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (photo by Jim Byers)

Article by Rich Thomaselli

At the beginning of March, when health officials declared the coronavirus a global pandemic and the world began to react, the Cayman Islands—hotbed of tourism, including a popular cruise destination—was already weeks, if not months, ahead of the game.

The Caribbean territory had to make some difficult decisions when news of the virus first broke, including what it called a “hard curfew” of its residents and closing businesses except for supermarkets, banks and pharmacies.

And it began turning away cruise ships from its port as early as February, not an easy call for a country that relies on tourism for 70 percent of its gross domestic product. In total, the Cayman Islands have had just eight positive cases for COVID-19—all brought in by travelers—and one death.

Now the Caymans are being held up as a textbook example of how to be proactive, and not reactive, in a health crisis, according to a timely, informative article by Daphne Ewing-Chow for Forbes. The three islands that form the nation are being recognized for their ‘decisive disease containment strategies’ that, perhaps in the beginning, seemed a little extensive but now, in retrospect, appear to have been prescient.

That includes closing schools well before the U.S. did, banning public gatherings of 50 or more people and then dropping that to 10, and banning cruise ships from docking in Grand Cayman entirely as early as March 16, despite blowback from the cruise industry.

“The lives of our people in the Cayman Islands are our first and foremost concern,” said tourism minister Moses Kirkconnell.

For the complete Forbes article, please click here.

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