ANGUILLA’S ANNUAL SUMMER FESTIVAL RESCHEDULED FOR 2021

*Latest in Series of Events Postponed as Precautionary Measure*

New York, NY, April 30, 2020……The Anguilla Tourist Board (ATB) has announced that the Anguilla Summer Festival Committee and the Department of Youth and Culture have made the difficult decision to cancel the staging of Anguilla Summer Festival 2020.  This follows on similar decisions made with regard to Extraordinary Eats!, the island’s premiere culinary celebration held in April; Anguilla LitFest, A Literary Jollification and the Round the Island Boat Race on Anguilla Day in May; and a month-long  series of events in June, promoting relaxation, health and wellness on Anguilla

 

These decisions have been taken in compliance with the global and national guidelines issued with the objective of mitigating and containing the COVID-19 pandemic.  Anguilla has had just three (3) confirmed cases to date, with none currently pending, and no new cases reported within the past 28 days. All three individuals have fully recovered and have tested clear of the virus.

 

We believe that rescheduling these events is the only responsible course of action to take,” said Donna A. Daniels-Banks, ATB Chairperson.  “The health and safety of both our residents and our guests is always of paramount importance, and we take the principle of social distancing very seriously.  Hosting large gatherings at this time is premature; we are confident that all our events will be bigger and even more spectacular next year, and we look forward to welcoming everyone to Anguilla to celebrate with us.”

 

The Anguilla Tourist Board is focused on the development and expansion of the island’s tourism product offerings, to fulfill the destination’s Beyond Extraordinary! brand promise. In 2019 the Destination Experience Unit launched five experiential pillars – Adventure, Extraordinary Eats, Spa and Wellness, Events and Culture and Romance – and created a series of corresponding events on island to market and promote these authentic experiences. 

 

Planning for 2021 has already begun.  Extraordinary Eats! will once again take place next April, expanded to a month-long event for “foodies” and culinary enthusiasts. From March to August the focus is on Events and Culture, with the iconic MoonSplash, LitFest, Anguilla Day and Summer Festival, which includes the popular Poker Run. 

 

The month of June 2021 has been designated Health & Wellness Month, featuring the best wellness escape packages and spa services – that are uniquely Anguillian – yoga, healthy eating and much more.

 

The Fall months of September, October and November are intended to bring awareness to the Adventure Pillar, with new excursions and activities such as cave tours, sporting events, watersports, nature walks and more.  The final pillar, Romance, will be highlighted in November from the 1st to the 15th, when all of Anguilla’s romantic getaway packages, weddings, honeymoon and one-of-a-kind assets will be showcased.

                                      

For information on Anguilla, please visit the official website of the Anguilla Tourist Board: www.IvisitAnguilla.com; follow us on Facebook: Facebook.com/AnguillaOfficial; Instagram: @Anguilla_Tourism; Twitter: @Anguilla_Trsm, Hashtag: #MyAnguilla.

For the most recent guidelines, updates and information on Anguilla’s response to effectively containing the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.beatcovid19.ai

 

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                    BELIZE

Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Dean Barrow’s

Update on COVID-19 Response

April 30, 2020

Today marks something of a milestone in our national campaign against COVID-19. The first state of emergency (SOE) proclaimed by His Excellency the Governor General expires at midnight tonight; and this is also, I believe, the 17th straight day that we have gone without recording any new positive case. We, therefore, are turning a corner and at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 1st, a new, or extended, state of emergency goes into effect.

That means, there will be in effect a new proclamation issued by the Governor General. Thereunder, there will also be a new statutory instrument (SI), with new regulations that His Excellency will also sign into law. The new state of emergency and the new regulations will, as mandated by the National Assembly, last for 60 days unless sooner revoked by parliament.

The principal reason for this press conference is to sketch for you the changes that the new regulations will effect. I use the word sketch advisedly. All I will do is to highlight some of the new features that the new regulations will usher in. Later on today, it is the Attorney General that will walk the public step by step through every provision of the new statutory instrument. That statutory instrument will, of course, also be available on various GOB websites and generally on social media.

In parliament, and elsewhere, I had made the point that there was no need to fear that the extension of the state of emergency necessarily meant the extension of the regime, in all its rigour, that existed under the previous state of emergency. In fact, I signaled that given how comparatively well we are doing in keeping new cases at bay, we expected to relax the strictness of the last set of regulations. I am, therefore, here to tell you that it is precisely as I intimated: there is a substantial easing that the new regime will bring. I am also pleased to be able to say that the new measures are the product of an agreement between both the National Oversight Committee and the Cabinet of Belize.

Before I go any further, I must make one thing clear. There is no way that, in those famous words of President Bush, that we can declare “mission accomplished”. We see what is to happen now as a breathing space, a somewhat uneasy truce. We will use the opportunity to plan, to prepare for the distinct possibility of a second wave of cases. If that hits, we ask our people to be ready to do it all over again, including returning to the most draconian of lockdowns.

One of the worst things about this virus is that nobody in the world has been able to figure out exactly how it works. It is an unpredictable, insidious enemy that can double back on itself and quickly upend whatever progress we initially make. This is a long-haul struggle and we will no doubt have to make long-haul sacrifices.

For now, though, we believe we have caught a little bit of a break, however short-lived it may prove. We, therefore, seize the opportunity to restart, to the maximum degree possible in the circumstances, internal business and economic activity.

Accordingly, under the new SI, all government departments and all statutory bodies will reopen on Monday, May 4th. We have, naturally, added to the list of approved private sector businesses also permitted to operate; and those add-ons can actually begin on Saturday, May 2nd – after the Labour Day holiday – if they normally employ Saturday opening hours. Lawyers, accountants, real estate brokers, are some examples of private sector, professional service providers that are now on the approved list. There is, as well, a category compendiously described as local manufacturers, under which our carpenters, building contractors, plumbers, electricians, and so on, will also be able to operate. The wholesalers and retailers generally are being freed up, and even call centers can reopen, particularly for training purposes. Belize call center services are increasingly in demand as a result of the pandemic, and the centers can take on well over a thousand new hires if training is allowed. Very very significant for the economy.

Hotels will also now reopen, if they so choose, to cater to a Belizean clientele. Their restaurants will be limited, though, to providing room service and take-out meals.

As a result of all this, the general restriction on movement is being lifted to the extent that it will now permit the public to attend at the various government and private businesses for such services as they require, in addition to the purchase of supplies and essential needs. And in one more concession, beauty salons and barbershops can also resume operations, although, only by appointment basis, dealing with one customer at a time. Spas, I am afraid, will still have to remain closed.

There is much more to the statutory instrument than I have outlined, but as I said, I leave the detailed, line by line exegesis to the Attorney General, whom you will see later today.

I, therefore, have only one other thing to add in this regard. The relaxation, the opening up, is not a free for all. Every business activity, all economic operations, are subject to the social distancing requirements. No public establishment can suffer any member of the public to enter its premises without wearing a face mask, and managers and staff must themselves wear the masks. Also, none can operate without putting in place the six-foot dividers to keep both staff and the public properly spaced apart.

It is then, critically important for us to grasp that ultimately everything depends on our observing the physical distancing and other rules. Thus, it is that we are actually increasing the penalties for particular breaches. As just one example, those caught using the illegal crossings to go especially into Mexico and Quintana Roo, where the proliferation of coronavirus cases has skyrocketed, will, upon conviction, go straight to jail for three months. A second conviction will result in a one-year prison sentence.

I wish to stress again that this breather that we are taking is an opportunity to ramp up our defenses for the possible second wave. Key to that strategy is continued testing. It is for that reason that CEO Dr. Gough is here. He will go over our inventory of tests and accompanying supplies that are in hand, and what is on order. This is for one overriding reason: transparency. You must know our state of readiness. You must know of any shortcomings and what we are doing to fix those. You must know what money has been spent and how it has been spent. You must know our funding sources and what has been promised versus what has been received.

Before I turn it over to Dr. Gough, I will say one last thing. We are all hoping soon for the internationally certified rapid tests that will help us to do two things: increase our own local testing capacity, and enable us effectively to test visitors so that we can reopen our all-important tourism industry.

In the meantime, though, let us understand something. We will never be able to test every single Belizean. Furthermore, the science suggests that that is simply not necessary. What the international benchmarks, from WHO and others, say is that there is no exact number of tests to aim for. The guiding principle, rather, is this: you want a low percentage of your tests to come back negative, around 10% or even lower, says William Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard. This is because if a high percentage of tests comes back positive it is clear there is not enough testing to capture all of the infected people in the community. The lower the percentage of tests you are doing that comes back positive, the better. By that standard, Belize with only the cases that we have documented from over 700 tests, is doing well percentage-wise. We are certainly well below that 10% positive benchmark that signals the need for greatly accelerated testing.

Also, at the beginning of an outbreak where the number of people infected with the virus is low, a much smaller number of tests is needed to accurately assess the spread of the virus. As the virus infects more people, testing coverage needs to expand in order to provide a reliable number of the true indication of infected people.

All that notwithstanding, Belize is moving on with increased testing as Dr. Gough, to whom I now turn, will also explain.

 

ST. KITTS AND NEVIS

Basseterre, St. Kitts (April 29, 2020) – As of today, 2 additional persons have recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recovered persons to 6 with 0 deaths. To date, a total of 293 persons have been tested for COVID-19, 15 of whom tested positive with 271 persons tested negative and 7 test results pending. 1 person is currently quarantined in a government facility while 55 persons are currently quarantined at home and 9 persons are in isolation. 688 persons have been released from quarantine. St. Kitts & Nevis has one of the highest testing rates in CARICOM and the Eastern Caribbean and uses only the molecular tests which are the gold standard of testing.

On April 24, the Prime Minister of St. Kitts & Nevis Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris announced that, under the State of Emergency put in place on March 28, 2020 and which Cabinet voted on Friday, April 17 to extend for 6 months, Government introduced another round of Regulations effective from 6:00 a.m. on Saturday April 25, 2020 through 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 9, 2020 to control and combat COVID-19 in the Federation.

 

He also announced full 24-hour and limited curfews will be in effect as follows:

 

Limited curfew (relaxed restrictions wherein persons may leave their residence to shop for necessities and curfews in effect every night from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.):

  • Thursday, April 30 from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

  • Friday, May 1 from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

 

Full 24-hour curfew (persons must remain in their residence):

  • Saturday, May 2, Sunday, May 3 and Monday, May 4 all day until Tuesday, May 5 at 6:00 a.m.

 

Limited curfew (relaxed restrictions wherein persons may leave their residence to shop for necessities and curfews in effect every night from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.):

  • Tuesday, May 5 from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

  • Wednesday, May 6 from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

  • Thursday, May 7 from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

  • Friday, May 8 from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

 

During the extended State of Emergency and the COVID-19 Regulations made under the Emergency Powers Act, no one is permitted to be away from their residence without special exemption as an essential worker or a pass or permission from the Commissioner of Police during full 24-hour curfew. For a complete listing of essential businesses, click here to read the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations and refer to section 5. This is part of the Government’s response to contain and control the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

 

The Government continues to act under the advisement of its medical experts in relaxing or lifting restrictions. These medical experts have informed the Government that St. Kitts & Nevis has met the 6 criteria established by the World Health Organization (WHO) for doing so and that all persons who need to be tested have been tested at this time. St. Kitts & Nevis is the last country in the Americas to confirm a case of the virus, has no deaths from it and has now reported 6 recoveries.

 

At this time we hope everyone, and their families remain safe and healthy.

 ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

Five tourism businesses in Antigua and Barbuda that are changing their game as a result of COVID-19

Antigua and Barbuda’s azure waters, warm temperatures and friendly faces have for years lured vacationers to the twin-island paradise, located in the Caribbean.

So when a global pandemic strikes, curtailing travel, and introducing ‘social distancing’ and ‘shelter at home’ policies that made Antigua and Barbuda vacations a dream deferred, sending the country’s main industry – tourism — into a tailspin, tourism businesses showed their resilience.  Here are five positive stories of tourism businesses that got creative in Antigua and Barbuda as a result of Covid-19.

ADVENTURE ANTIGUA

Eli Fuller has been exploring Antigua’s north-coast and off-shore islands all his life. He grew up swimming, snorkeling and boating within the North Sound area, so when in 1999, the opportunity came for him to open an eco-tour excursion company, that would allow him to take visitors out to his childhood playground, he jumped at the chance.  And Adventure Antigua was formed.

Fuller says, when he started the company, “it was with a little tiny boat taking four people out on snorkelling site-seeing tours.”

 

The company has grown since then and gained quite a reputation. “People come to Antigua and Barbuda on holiday and they have a fun holiday, but when we take them out, and they tell us that it was the highlight of their vacation, it makes us really happy, because we feel like we’ve accomplished something, and we’ve done what we’ve set out to do.”

 

Fuller has been keenly following developments surrounding Covid-19; when news of the novel coronavirus started getting closer to home, he decided to find an alternative means of providing employment for his crew members, one that would ensure their families were fed. And so, with lockdowns looming, the Adventure Antigua Farm was conceptualized.

We decided at the beginning of March, long before the lockdown, that the Adventure Antigua team needed to make sure that our boats had up-to-date commercial fishing licences, and to make sure that some of our crew members who liked fishing had their commercial fishing licences.  It was critical that we  could legally go out and catch fish both during the lockdowns, and during the period of time when tourists weren’t here. We ordered a bunch of fishing equipment from the USA, to make sure that we could target various species in a sustainable manner. We also invested in purchasing topsoil and seedlings and lumber to make boxes for vegetable gardens, and we started a little farm on a 1/4 acre of land. The Adventure Antigua snorkelers and captains and sight-seeing tour guides helped create the farm, and we still have a skeleton crew coming to work and maintaining the farm.

Today, the Adventure Antigua Farm grows a huge variety of crops  for sale, which include cucumbers, pumpkin, cassava, sweet potato, yams, peas, beans, okra, some herbs, peppers, finger rolls, plantain, banana, avocado, guineps, mangos, beets, onions and tomatoes. And of course, there’s also fresh fish available for purchase.

 

Fuller notes that the response from the community has really been positive, with the Adventure Antigua farm inspiring others to create gardens of their own. And, while we don’t know how long this crisis will last, “my company is going to be ready when the day comes that we reopen borders and welcome guests back to Antigua and Barbuda.  And when they come, we are going to be serving food that either we catch or that we grow.”

Buy local at Adventure Antigua

 

TIMMY TIME COCKTAILS

An old-fashioned rum punch, margaritas, mojitos, piña coladas and daiquiris are just some of the refreshing tropical vacation drinks that award-winning mixologist Daniel ‘Timmy’ Thomas is used to mixing up for beach-goers and visitors turned friends at a beach bar along Antigua’s North Coast.

While the bars may be closed, with no tourists sipping piña coladas in sight, that has not stopped Thomas from shaking up some of his most requested drinks and serving them up to the local market.

While I wait for guests to return, I’m doing my own stuff, ‘Timmy Time Cocktails’. Not just cocktails, but great cocktails from a top mixologist on island”, says Thomas.

And with all orders of Timmy Time Cocktails coming with free island-wide delivery, Thomas has gained quite a following.

His cocktails come highly recommended, and while they may not be able to end their day sipping drinks at one of Antigua and Barbuda’s 365 beaches, Timmy Time Cocktails are still bringing a bit of paradise to customers stuck at home in lockdown.

Order your Timmy Time Cocktail

 

WALLINGS NATURE RESERVE

Wallings Nature Reserve is a 1,680 acre protected rainforest in Antigua that offers a hiking, birding and nature experience.  While the forest has always been a popular hiking area, the location got a boost when a little over a year ago, nature-lover Refica Attwood and a group of like-minded individuals from the John Hughes community, where the nature reserve is located, got together to revive the area as part of a community tourism project. 

Described as a go-getter, Attwood has been known to take to the hills with chainsaw and weed whacker in hand, clearing trails to ensure ease of access for hikers. This is not unusual for the Wallings Nature Reserve Executive Director, who has also for the last four years, operated RA Events which offers logging services for fishermen and farmers.

Ask Attwood what she likes best about her job, and she will tell you, “I can be myself and do what I really love!!”

Wallings Nature Reserve has been on a go slow since the beginning of March, but Attwood maintains that she and the team have been using the time to do some much needed upgrades. These include putting in place amenities such as a restroom for the physically challenged, an administration building, a museum and gift shop. They are also clearing out trails, adding additional signage, and preparing the reservoir.

To our visitors past and present, we are taking the time to ready ourselves and look forward to seeing you trekking with us again.

In the meantime, you can also catch Refica making a batch of guava cheese for sale, or out logging within the hills of the rainforest.

Look out for the new upgrades at Wallings Nature Reserve

VILLAS AT SUNSET LANE

Jacqueline Thomas has been a small hotelier for the past 10 years, since opening the Villas at Sunset Lane, and has always enjoyed sharing her Caribbean culture, especially around Caribbean cuisine with her guests.  

 

It is always a pleasure to get a request from a guest asking to share a particular recipe that they truly enjoyed”, she says.

 

So it came as a natural option, that while there are no guests, but fixed costs of the hotel still to be met, to launch VSL’s Home Cooking and Home delivery services.

 

We have decided to develop a simple lunch menu to meet what we believe is a growing demand since many people do not want to or cannot leave their residences for fear of the virus.  On the other hand, some individuals simply cannot cook or dislike cooking and as a result, are looking for some respite.“ 

 

Thomas is mindful of the possibility that this first step may lead to the development of a catering business for small to medium size events.

 

But by no means is she quitting the accommodation business. Her message to future visitors, “We are doing all we can to think of ways to transform our facility based on the recommended health guidelines.  It is critical to us that we allay your fears and gain your trust, giving you the assurance that you will be safe when you visit us again. We miss you and look forward to welcoming you back in the future.”

 

NICOLE’S TABLE


“I love working with people and I love food; this is the best of both worlds.  I get to meet people and exchange ideas about food while cooking,” says a bubbly Nicole Arthurton from Nicole’s Table, who offers hands-on Caribbean cooking classes.

 

As of this month, she will be doing Instagram Live cooking shows.

 

This year we had a large number of returning guests so we are trying to keep Nicole’s Table top of mind for all of them.  We are staying visible on social media and communicating with past guests, cancelled guests and future guests. We post pictures and we’ve done a live cooking show on Instagram.”

 

She’s now researching and laying out plans to do more Instagram shows, with the next set of shows scheduled to start in about two weeks. 

 

Besides that, I’m tinkering in the garden trying to expand from just herbs to a range of vegetables that will grow well together… I’m crossing my fingers that all my plans will pay off.”

 

She’s also giving tips to other local tour operators. “Be creative now no matter how bad things look for you.  Don’t go outside the box; break it!  Adam and I are doing a lot of experimenting right now, trying to figure out new ways we can make our business.  Things are very tight, but that Instagram show I did the other day was just the first piece of our new approach to building our brand.”

 

JAMAICA

Post-Pandemic We Are Now One Generation

For the last few years we have heard much about the disparities and divides between generations—what they want, how they get their information, and how and why they travel. Gen Z takes in information quickly and visually, and are quick to become loyal to destinations, brands or ideas. Millennials’ desire for experiences over things has shaped and fueled the sharing economy. Hard-working Gen Xers focus on family and need rest and relaxation. And despite the disparaging “Okay Boomer” phenomenon, Baby Boomers have doubled down on sharing the legacy of travel with family members and they are more willing to invest in tracing heritage, getting to those “bucket” destinations, and immersing themselves in travel experiences.

But, as we get to the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in the coming weeks and months, we will all have had a shared global experience that is intergenerational.  We are now all part of Generation C – the post-COVID generation. GEN-C will be defined by a societal shift in mindset that will change the way that we look at—and do—many things. And in what becomes our “New Normal” economy GEN-C will emerge from our homes. Post-social distancing, we will go back to office and workplaces, and eventually back to a world that will include seeing friends and family, perhaps smaller gatherings; reimagined cultural and sporting events; and eventually to GEN-C travel.

And that return to travel is critical for the global economy.  Across the world, travel and tourism account for 11% of the world’s GDP and creates more than 320 Million jobs for workers serving 1.4 Billion travelers annually.  And these numbers don’t tell the whole story.  They are just part of a connected global economy of which travel and tourism are the lifeblood—sectors from technology, hospitality construction, finance, to agriculture are all interdependent with travel and tourism.

There are still many unanswered questions. What is that new normal? When will we move from crisis to recovery? What form does a post-COVID exit strategy take? What do we need to do before GEN-C will travel again? What technologies, data and protocols will be essential to us as GEN-Cs make us feel safe again?   (continued on next page)

But even as we are still in a state of social distancing, early data shows that the desire to travel is still there. As humans we crave new experiences and the excitement of travel. Travel adds so much to the rhythm and richness of our lives. So, as GEN-C we need a path forward.

There is no question that tourism is among the sectors hit hardest by this crisis, but it is also at the heart of the recovery.  The most resilient economies will be driving the recovery, and travel and tourism will be a multiplier—and an employment engine across all sectors. The global imperative is that we work together across sectors, across regions, to develop a framework that can help solve the global challenge of how to restart the travel and tourism economy.

Jamaica has a unique perspective on resilience—the ability to recover quickly from difficult conditions. As an island nation, we have always had to think about resilience. An island is a paradox in that in many ways it is more vulnerable than other countries—witness Haiti’s devastating earthquake, Puerto Rico’s destruction by Hurricane Maria — but in many ways being an island provides strength and the ability to act with agility.

Last year, working with the University of the West Indies we formed the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center and we quickly developed sister-centers around the world. This May the center will hold a virtual convening with a panel with experts from around the world who will be sharing ideas and solutions around issues critical to restarting the GEN-C travel and tourism economy. Together we will work to find technology solutions, infrastructure enhancements, training, policy frameworks that are essential to tackling the health and safety, transport, destination and overall approach to tourism resilience.

The new shared global challenge requires shared solutions, and we are committed to finding the way forward. Our entire generation depends on it

 

BELIZE

Belize City, Belize (April 28, 2020) – Belize’s health officials have been effectively managing the COVID-19 outbreak with support from the public. Belize has a total of 18 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 9 of which have fully recovered, and it has been 16 days since the last confirmed case. A total of 995 tests have been administered so far. While the country remains under a State of Emergency (SoE), there has been an ease in some restrictions over the past few days.

The COVID-19 outbreak is affecting all segments of Belize’s population, primarily people living in poverty situations. The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) recognizes that it is imperative to reach out to help those in need. On this premise, BTB’s staff has come together to donate towards community outreach initiatives in several areas of the country. The first outreach was carried out last week, resulting in food packages being distributed to 100 families in Calla Creek village, Cayo district. The staff effort will continue over the next few months, with projects anticipated to be carried out across the country.

While dealing with the present social and economic impact of this pandemic, Belize remains optimistic that the industry will rebound and we are employing a strategic, proactive and inclusive approach to accelerate recovery.  Most recently consultations were held with a wide cross-section of tourism stakeholders, as their input and participation will be vital to the restoration of the industry once travel resumes.

On Friday, April 24th, 2020, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), in collaboration with the Development Finance Corporation (DFC), hosted a virtual meeting which had the participation of approximately 100 tourism stakeholders. The objectives of the meeting were to identify the financial and technical needs of the tourism industry during the COVID-19 crisis and recovery period; advise stakeholders on the level of support currently available; and determine how best to fill the gaps. The information gathered from the meeting will enable the DFC to reach out to international lenders for financing that can be tailored to suit the needs of industry stakeholders.

Additionally, the BTB has been actively engaged with the travel advisor community.  One of main engagement tools has been the creation of a Facebook group called “Belize Travel Advisors & Friends”. The group aims to bring together members of the trade to educate on the destination, and for members to simply connect on the basis of Belize travels.  On Friday, April 24th, a Webinar was held for stakeholders to discuss the strategies planned to keep the trade engaged and preparations for welcoming visitors back when travel is safe again.

The public is encouraged to continue practicing social distancing, avoid being in public places unless absolutely necessary and, when doing so, practice good hygiene. Any questions, concerns, information or clarification should be channeled through the Ministry of Health at 0-800-MOH-CARE. Persons can also contact the Ministry via its Facebook Page ‘Ministry of Health Belize’ or visit www.covid19.bz

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CAYMAN ISLANDS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COVID-19 Update for Tuesday, 28 April 2020

·        Out of 187 latest test results received, 3 have tested positive. The positives respectively have a travel history, contact with a previous positive and one assumed as local transmission.

·        Any easing of restrictions will be in phases with two weeks between each phase during which testing will continue rigorously to ensure the present phase is not curtailed and the next phase can start.

·        Phase one is slated to commence on Monday, 4 May 2020 if test results this week are encouraging enough to allow for that to happen. Phase one is expected to allow for kerbside delivery of more goods.

·        Phase two of the reopening is scheduled for Monday, 18 May and will include reopening of sectors such as construction. Details for all are still being worked on.

 

Grand Cayman (GIS) – With the phased easing of the current regulations, Government is working out details for Phase One, while continuing rigorous testing to ensure reopening can happen as planned.

At the COVID-19 press conference today, Tuesday, 28 April 2020, after prayer by Pastor Dave Tayman, public sector leaders noted that even if the virus is contained, the Cayman Islands faces a long and hard economic recovery. 

It was also announced that a total of 742 persons have either departed from the Cayman Islands, or are departing this week on scheduled flights to the UK, Miami, Canada and Cancun, Mexico.

Additionally, 198 Caymanians and Permanent Residents have returned to the Cayman Islands on the flights so far.

 

Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee reported:

  • Private sector companies that employ frontline personnel will be receiving emails from the Department of Commerce and Infrastructure with regards to testing of their staff.
  • Three positive cases out of 187 test results revealed. One of them has a travel history, one has had contact with a previous positive case and one is assumed to be through local contact.
  • Of the three positives, one is a health care worker at HSA, where patient and health care providers strictly maintain and use all required PPE protocol. Anyone sent home to recover after testing positive is monitored daily and under strict supervision. All are advised to call 911 early should they feel worse or become concerned about their condition.
  • Care and monitoring are tailored to individual cases.

 

Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez said:

  • HSA continues to provide emergency and urgent care and is also now considering offering elective care.
  • The use of PPEs has been followed diligently for several weeks at HSA now.

 

Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin said:

  • The positive results today underscore that the Cayman Islands cannot consider itself out of the woods yet, although it is trending in the right direction. The next few weeks are going to be critical.
  • With this trend, Government is planning for easing restrictions in phases from Monday, 4 May. While the Cayman Islands is doing well in the number of tests conducted, there are still not enough to make categorical statements about the virus’ prevalence in the community. Therefore prescribed protocols including physical distancing, frequent hand washing and proper respiratory etiquette should continue to be strictly maintained.
  • Problems accessing WORC’s phone 945-9672 are being addressed to ensure as the earliest that call queueing is reinstated. If people are unable to get through on  this number, they should text or WhatsApp WORC at 925-7199 for customer care assistance. This number is for messaging only. Additionally, further information can be obtained at www.WORC.ky.
  • The laws passed in the legislature last week – the National Pensions, Customs and Border Control, Labour, Immigration (Transition) and Traffic Laws — are all assented to by the Governor and are being gazetted today.
  • In response to concerns about the inability of some to reach their pension providers, the entities have informed that, barring one which has a portal problem, all are operating remotely and some 6,000 queries have been received and are being attended to. If problems persist, persons are asked to email DLP@gov.ky with details.

 

His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper said:

  • The flight to Honduras that is confirmed for Monday, 4 May is completely sold out. A second flight is being worked on with details expected tomorrow, Wednesday, 29 April.

  • Further details about the flights to the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica are also expected and will be released.

  • The BA flight arriving later today will bring returning Caymanians and Permanent Residents as well as 12 UK security personnel, all of whom will face 14 days’ mandatory quarantine at government facilities.

  • Additionally, a team going on to the Turks and Caicos who arrive today, will be in strict isolation along with the BA crew until the flight departs tomorrow.

  • The rumour that the arriving BA flight was delayed to offload someone returning to the Cayman Islands after testing positive for COVID-19 is entirely untrue. A technical issue delayed the flight for 45 minutes before it took off for the Cayman Islands earlier today from London.

  • HE The Governor warned that the spreading of false information by rumours is “very negative” for all in the Islands.

  • Since 5 March, 408 persons have departed via one BA flight, two Miami flights and one Canada flight. This week 334 will be leaving via the one BA flight, two flights to Miami and one flight to Cancun, Mexico.

  • The cancelled flight to Nicaragua is being discussed with that country’s authorities with a view to organizing another flight as well as a flight to Colombia.

  • Governor issued a shout out to the staff of the Civil Aviation Authority for their help with these flights.

  • The Cayman Islands’ testing is very robust, with the staff doing the testing deserving kudos.

 

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour said:

  • A recent meeting among clinicians in the public and private sectors who are dealing with responding to the COVID-19 crisis highlighted the high quality of care being provided in the Cayman Islands.
  • Those seeking urgent care should visit the HSA acute care clinic which is open Monday to Saturday. Only true emergencies should go to the A&E unit. For all flu symptoms, persons should contact the flu hotline. Persons needing to go hospital are permitted to drive to and from the hospital.
  • Minister gave a shout out to all who have arrived in the Islands, and made positive impacts to taking the Cayman Islands forward, and also to Tilly’s Restaurant for providing meals to healthcare workers.

 

From the Commissioner of Police:

  • Hard curfew begins daily at 7 pm and continues until 5 am. All, except those deemed essential staff, should operate under a strict lockdown during these hours. On Sundays, the lockdown is for the full 24 hours.
  • All protocols during soft curfew are also to be practised to avoid facing penalties. This means non-essential workers may only leave the house to run essential tasks approved in the Public Health Regulations.
  • All beaches remain off limits.

 

For the official Cayman Islands Government web portal, www.gov.ky.

 

 

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

Hoteliers Benefit from Government Assistance.

(April 27, 2020)

Government is providing $50 million to hoteliers in Tobago to assist in the upgrade and refurbishment of their respective properties in preparation for the re-opening of their hotels post Covid-19.

The announcement was part of a comprehensive Statement on the Economic Effect and Financial Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic by the Minister of Finance, Honourable Colm Imbert in Parliament today.

Tourism Minister, the Honourable Randall Mitchell was among other ministers who met with hotel and accommodation owners on the sister-island in March to agree on the assistance being provided.

Minister Mitchell said the tourism sector was among those negatively affected by the virus. He said the assistance being provided by the Government will ensure the hotels are ready for the expected visitors who would be returning post Covid-19.

 

 

CARIBBEAN AIRLINES CARGO LAUNCHES CHARTER SERVICE

Trinidad and Tobago, April 27, 2020. Caribbean Airlines introduces cargo charter services to support supply chains within the  Caribbean region.

The airline launched this new option to meet the growing demand for cargo uplift to a number of Caribbean islands, which are now experiencing significantly reduced cargo capacity with the closure of borders to passenger aircraft, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Caribbean Airlines Cargo will utilize the airline’s fleet of Boeing 737-800 and ATR-72 aircraft, offering up to 18,000 pounds for the movement of essential goods to and from destinations, including but not limited to, Antigua, Barbados, Curacao, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Nassau, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Vincent, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. Charter flights will be subject to the regulatory approvals of each jurisdiction and airport.

The airline continues to operate its scheduled 767 freighter flights, offering up to 120,000 pounds of cargo capacity to and from its hub in Miami.

Marklan Moseley, General Manager Cargo, Caribbean Airlines states “In these unprecedented times, our cargo operations are crucial to securing the urgent supply of essential goods within the Caribbean. We will continue to adapt our business in order to meet the evolving needs of our valued customers”.

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