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Quarantine Breach Referred to DPP

Public Health have confirmed that all primary contact tracing protocols have been observed by the public health department following a breach of Quarantine at Residence (QAR) protocols which occurred on Sunday.

The traveller, who left their quarantine residence to attend a public jet ski event was initially detained by the RCIPS under the Public Health Law and was subsequently relocated to a government sponsored facility at the traveller’s expense.

The RCIPS have since completed their investigations and a file has been sent to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for a decision on whether to proceed with a prosecution. The DPP is also expected to determine whether anyone else will be charged in connection with the breach. Upon summary conviction, offenders are liable to a fine of up to CI$10,000 and imprisonment for up to two years.

Due to this incident, a total of six people, including the traveller, are now in mandatory quarantine. Public Health have confirmed that all individuals concerned with this incident will be tested on Thursday, 3 December, to allow sufficient time for incubation of the virus and re-tested again at the end of their quarantine.

Public Health also noted that as this was an outdoor event most people were found to be secondary contacts and therefore would be not required to isolate.

“I would like to use this opportunity to implore everyone in the Cayman Islands, visitors and residents alike, to take ownership and responsibility for your own health and the protection of our community. Together we will get through this,” said Medical Officer of Health, Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez.

The Quarantine at Home programme (QAR) is part of the phased border opening initiative managed by the Programme Board. In conducting an internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the recent breaches of Quarantine in Residence, the Programme Board has concluded that there was no malfunction in the wearable tracking technology that is being utilised with participants, and that the monitoring team at the Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC) acted in full compliance with established protocols, which are founded on best practices in electronic monitoring. In addition, the number of checks at the airport by the Mobile Compliance Team have been increased, to ensure that wristbands have been fitted correctly prior to travellers exiting the arrival hall.

It should be noted that the technology used to monitor participants in the Quarantine in Residence Programme is different to that which is used by the DPSC to monitor persons enrolled in the Electronic Monitoring of Offenders Programme, in collaboration with criminal justice system partners.

Hon. Franz Manderson, Programme Board Chair, noted that “I am satisfied that the monitoring and compliance checks that are built into the QAR programme provide sufficient safeguards on a number of levels to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19. Over 1,000 travellers to date have been approved to quarantine at a residence, and the vast majority have complied with the restrictions and completed their quarantine without incident. Notwithstanding, public safety remains a top priority and government will not hesitate to seek prosecution of anyone confirmed to have violated the QAR protocols.”

The RCIPS have confirmed that three previous breaches are still under investigation.