Health Minister apologises for not wearing mask at hospital | Loop Cayman Islands

The content originally appeared on: Cayman Compass

The government reported that, on Friday, April 15, a media house posted an article titled “Minister of Health goes mask-less in Little Cayman health centre tour” with a screenshot taken from video footage posted by CIGTV on its Daily News Brief of Tuesday, March 29. The article appears to have gotten the attention of MP Sabrina Turner, Minister for Health, who has now commented on the debacle.

Prior to getting to MP Turner’s comments, however, it is useful to look what the Control and Management of Covid-19 (No. 2) Regulations, 2022 (the “Regulations”) state about mask wearing.

According to the Regulations, the owner or operator of a health care facility, residential home care facility, prison or place of detention, an airport, a place of business or such other public place may require any person who visits any of such places to wear a mask and a person who refuses to do so shall be refused entry.

The statement by the government is that a screenshot taken is of Minister Turner who was touring the facilities on Tuesday, March 22 at the end of the day, after the Little Cayman Clinic had closed. The visit was an impromptu stop to say thank you to the staff at a time when there were no patients or members of the public in the facility.

MP Turner responded to the screenshot saying that “without proper context, I understand how the photo in question may appear.” “In retrospect, I should have used my mask, regardless of the clinic being closed,” she added.

Notwithstanding MP Turner’s apology, the practice of wearing masks appears to vary in different places in the Cayman Islands. For example, Loop News observed that, while some business establishments have posted mask wearing notices outside their entrances, some patrons continue to enter without masks and without any apparent consequences. In addition, no screenshots are being captured of those instances and shared publicly via the media or otherwise to raise concerns about mask wearing policies island-wide.

As one resident put it, the variation of mask wearing practices across Cayman is “due to residents feeling more comfortable that Cayman has low COVID-19 numbers and people are being careful and practising social distancing… for these reasons, mask wearing policies are not strictly enforced across the island… simply put, people feel like they are in a safe place and they are.”

It is also interesting to note that COVID-19 numbers have fallen greatly in the past couple of months under MP Turner’s leadership. However, this achievement has not been blessed with much attention.

Also, in responding to the Little Cayman Clinic screenshot scenario in the way that she did, some level of accountability has been acknowledged, which, in retrospect, must count for something.

Going forward, such accountability should be common practice and everyone should endeavour to adhere to the Regulations. In the meantime, the Cayman Islands Government said that it will continue to encourage members of the public to follow public health guidelines including proper mask-wearing to control the rate of spreading the COVID-19 infection here in the Cayman Islands.