Results remain very encouraging. Only 2 positives in July from over 3,000 tests. Now conducted an impressive 27,000 tests. The strategy followed by the Premier and his Government is an outstanding success. We can be thankful we live in one of the safest places in the world just now.
Sadly, that is not the case in other parts of the world, particularly the US. Over 77,000 cases in the US yesterday - highest ever figure with Florida tragically seeing over 100 deaths.
My key message is that we should not let our guard down. Our success should not lead to a false sense of security. We remain in minimal suppression level 2 because while the risk is considerably reduced, it has not gone away. Please continue with social distancing, basic hygiene including regularly washing hands and wearing masks in public places. These are good practices that will keep us safe until a vaccine is developed. They will best protect our vulnerable and elderly.
I believe our handling of this pandemic is already giving confidence internationally to Cayman's reputation and good governance. That will be a key element of our narrative in building back more strongly. But locking down is easier than opening up.
The US situation demands maximum caution on any reopening of our borders. But if we can get that right - cautious, gradual, not rushed - we can avoid having to do what many others, who have opened too quickly, have had to do - that is being forced to lock back down again. If we succeed, it will help build an even stronger narrative about Cayman as a successful, highly effective, well managed and strong jurisdiction.
In that context, the work of the Reopening the Borders Committee, chaired by our excellent Deputy Premier, is progressing well. Our capacity to do lots of testing is a major advantage, which not every country has. New cutting edge technology, which the committee is considering, is a possible way forward.
In the meantime we continue to provide emergency travel options to a range of destinations. Pleased to say that we are making progress with a flight to Nicaragua and hope to get agreement to operate an aircraft to Managua soon. There will be another flight to Manila via London on 28 July and a further London flight on 31 August, the first of our flights to enable students and families to get to the UK. There will be another student flight later in August.
I know Travel Time are working closely with Cayman Airways on additional flights to Jamaica, Canada and Miami.
The Premier and I are working closely together on the Cayman Regiment. Next Thursday will see the arrival of an RAF Voyager aircraft from the UK. This large aircraft will be bringing the training team which will conduct the initial training for the Cayman Regiment and will also deliver the kit and uniforms. The aircraft will only be here for a couple of hours and the crew will remain airside. The training team has been in quarantine in the UK and will do a further period of quarantine in Cayman. They will also be tested for COVID before leaving their base in the UK. We are taking no risks in consultation with Dr Lee.
Recruitment for the Regiment has gone really well. We have our first 50 reservists identified - the vast majority are Caymanians. They have been interviewed and have undertaken fitness tests. The training course will commence on 3 August and run for 2 weeks.
Our five officer cadets have been doing really well at Sandhurst and are now in their final week of training. They are due to pass out (graduate) next Thursday and will be returning to Cayman on one of the BA airbridge flight. We can be very proud of how they performed and represented our Islands on this prestigious course. So to Theo, Shanice, Jonassi, Halston and Gabi, we are very proud of what you have achieved.
And finally, I am sure everyone will join me in wishing HRH the Duchess of Cornwall a very Happy 73rd Birthday. We fondly recall the visit by The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall last year. It was a wonderful occasion.
Quote of the Day
Lend your friend $20, if he doesn’t pay you back then he’s not your friend. Money well spent.