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TCI: Back to the Workplace, Govt Offices return to normal on Monday

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#TurksandCaicos, April 9, 2021 – It is back to the office full time for hundreds of government employees in Turks and Caicos; the lowered numbers of Covid-19 infections and the progress in vaccinations have ended a work from home, shift system instituted in January when TCI experienced its worst spike of coronavirus cases and deaths. 

Credited to the successful rollout of the COVID-19 Vaccination program and adherence and enforcement of the COVID-19 protocols across the islands, we have recently seen a significant sustained decrease in the number of active cases and positivity rate across the Turks and Caicos Islands which allows us to now appropriately return to work and to reopen our schools under revised health protocols,” said HE Anya Williams, who heads the Public Sector.

Deputy Governor Williams said public service workers must return to work and when they do, to keep the spaces safe, there will be regular daily cleaning and mandatory testing for the coronavirus. 

To this end, the Turks and Caicos Government will discontinue its current shift system on Monday April 12, 2021. Work hours will however remain from 9:00am to 4:00pm each day, with the lunch hour being observed from 1:00pm to 2:00pm, in order to allow appropriate cleaning each day.

In order to reduce risk and exposure, both to staff and members of the general public, mandatory scheduled testing is being proposed to gain a continuous better understanding of the prevalence of the virus within the public service and inform management responses,” said her statement issued on Thursday (April 8).

Previously it was voluntary to get tested; now at least six frontline worker groups from the public sector will have to undergo regular testing.

“Staff were previously voluntarily tested on a scheduled basis. However, this yielded poor results in several key areas where staff did not avail themselves to testing, resulting in significant exposure whereby staff both symptomatic and asymptomatic reported to work and contributed to the spread of the virus as a result of not being aware of their COVID-19 status.

To date, a significant number of public servants across government have been vaccinated, thereby helping to reduce the transmission rate. However, recognizing that there are still areas of concern, as a part of the new health protocols, Cabinet at its meeting on March 24, 2021 approved the mandatory testing of unvaccinated staff across government on a scheduled basis to ensure that we are better aware of persons COVID-19 status and can work to better prevent exposure and or potential outbreaks across government.”

The departments were listed as:  Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP),  Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF); Education Sector (All Teachers); Health Professionals (Clinics, Hospitals, Wellness Centers); Immigration and Customs.

Effective April 12, 2021, unvaccinated staff particularly those that have an increased level of interface with the general public or vulnerable groups will be tested on a weekly basis. This includes the following departments which account for over 60% of our public service.

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Health

Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.

A Ministry of Health press release informed that the individual who was in quarantine in Grand Turk and requested emergency aid on Tuesday; response came from the public health team in Grand Turk.

The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.

The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year.  In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.

In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.

 

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Sir Vassel Johnson, received the honour in 1994; he was Cayman’s first Financial Secretary; he died in November 2008 at the age of 86.

Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”

Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.

Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour.  Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands.  In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”

Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.

 

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