Bio-buttons lead way on phased border opening

| 17/07/2020 | 398 Comments
Cayman News Service
Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell at Friday’s press briefing

(CNS): Government will be depending on the use of bio-buttons or bio-stickers with GPS fencing (a location monitoring system) as it begins a six month phased reopening of the borders to air travellers in September. On Friday Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell revealed some of the ideas the ministry is considering to enable a slow and safe return of limited visitors here, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. This phased return of tourism will use testing and technology instead of lengthy quarantine.

The plan is still in the embryonic stage and will require much more work before it can be rolled out and tourists actually return. It will begin with residents, owners of second homes and some visitors coming on repatriation flights. The goal is to change the quarantine system on 1 September from government mandated facilities to people isolating in their own homes or in hotels.

The minster said that the government was not going to take any risks, given the success Cayman has had in tackling the virus, but despite the concerns, keeping the borders closed indefinitely was not a reasonable or sustainable situation. However, he stressed that this will be a very conservative approach.

“Safety and security will remain the main drivers in decision making,” Kirkconnell said. “We prefer to err on the side of caution.”

Government is considering an application system that will allow what is expected to be a very small number of visitors or even returning residents to avoid the 14-day mandated quarantine by first taking a test 72 hours before departing the country where they are and have a negative result. Potential visitors will fill out an online application where they provide the test result.

TravelTime will then consider the application and decide, depending on the circumstances and where the applicant is coming from, whether or not to approve the visitor. Those cleared to come will arrive at Owen Roberts International Airport, where they will receive the bio-button.

Chief Medical officer Dr John Leehas been testing the device that will be used to monitor visitors, which has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. It measures temperature, pulse and breathing and issues an alarm if any of the levels spike.

This health monitoring device will also have a geo-fencing component, so the button will not only measure a visitor’s health indicators and alert public health to a potential infection, it will ensure that the visitor stays in their designated accommodation. Visitors will be required to isolate for five days in that designated accommodation before taking a COVID-19 test. If it is negative, they can leave isolation but must continue to wear their bio-sticker.

Given the work that this will require and the cost of the device, visitors will be asked to pay a flat registration fee before they come to Cayman. The minister indicated that it would be in the region of “a couple of hundred dollars” per visitor and said that revenue stream could cover the costs of the monitoring programme.

As the minister spoke about the phased reopening of tourism, it was clear that many issues must still be ironed out before this new system can be implemented, and the minister said more details would be revealed over the next few weeks.

Check back to CNS for more on how the phased reopening of tourism will work.

See the full COVID-19 briefing on CIGTV below:


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Category: Business, Tourism, Transport

Comments (398)

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  1. Noname says:

    What i truly find fascinating is that there is a known prophilaxy to Covid-19 and that it is extremely cheap and can be made widely available on short notice. The treatment is effective during the asymptomatic phase and shows effectiveness in reducing viral charge and therefore communicability of the disease.

    If this would be only about a virus there would be a BIG push to make the treatment available OTC, instead everyone is pushing for a vaccine that may never come as well such a vaccine may not even grant immunity for an extended period of time as antibody titres tend to fall rapidly in the specific case of coronaviruses .

    I seriously have my doubts about the situation on a public health point of view , there is ample evidence that the present restrictions have little justificaton in the light of the effectiveness of the prophylactic treatments available.

    I have been surprised as to which lengths the pharmaceutical industry went to in order to produce “studies” to cast doubt on that treatment’s effectiveness, only have them proved wrong a few weeks later (but those studies though debunked are still getting republished by the media in the US and abroad).

    A few labs here and there are trying to validate vaccines but knowing some of the lab’s complex relationship with accuracy as to their statements (and that is to put it diplomatically!) I would not take their claims at face value given their track record as to the accuracy of their statements.

    The whole phased re opening without prophylactic treatment is IMHO a fool’s errand, the bio button policy is very ill defined and opens the door to many abuses. A mandatory test and treatment for people returning to the island seems to be more sensible than the whole policy exposed above that does not take into account the delays pertaining to the results and lack of efficiency pertaining to public services on Island (who can expect to have a test within 3 days and approved by Travel Time before boarding ???)

    This policy smacks of the greed at the helm at the Ministry of Tourism that brought us the Port Project among other choice policies , cruise tourism that proved highly detrimental to our environment. I am glad that the cruise ships are keeping away from our fragile ecosystem and shall they ever return it would be under a VERY strict code of conduct with a STRICT enforcement of environmental policies (no oil dumping at sea, no trash being dumped overboard , no use of sour crude oil, proper sanitation of all A/C system with UVC lights and would apply even in international waters would be a minimum to grant cruise lines permission to resume operations to our small island).

    • Anonymous says:

      Just like gargling and nose passages flash.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow, finally there’s someone with common sense! The simplest solutions are usually overlooked. The word prophylactics is unknown to 99.% of world’s population. Everyone wants, medicine, vaccines and scientific validation. Nobody wants to hear about upper respiratory system sanitizing, yet it is no different than washing your hands.
      I have posted several comments about it, but like I said masses want vaccines! Well, to each its own.

    • Anonymous says:

      Noname, your comment is like a breath of fresh air. Glad I am not alone.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m giving you 1,000 thumbs up. Sadly population is trained to believe in complex treatments that come from labs, but reject all preventions as unscientific.

  2. Anotha Dolla bill y’all says:

    Bio button and bio sticker don’t make me laugh Cayman’s tRump with another hairbrain idea to get us sick and 2 hospitals with less than 100 ICU beds and junk ventilators a recipe for Disaster whilst he sits in his Quarantine biosphere in CBrac. All about da Benjamin’s eh $$$$$ Well let’s make the Brac a first point of entry for all arriving tourist and returning residents and onward to Cayman after Covid 19 pretest?

    • Noname says:

      Just as a side note … ventilators have proven innefective as far as Covid-19 is concerned, not only most devices if not properly setup will overpressurise your lungs leading to extra strain on the ventricular system of your heart and they are very invasive creating a terrain for infections.

      You are better off using oxygenotherapy rather than using those contraptions. Noninvasive High Flow Positive Pressure Ventilation has shown the best results so far.

      Respirators shall be used as a last instance in case of Hypoxemic Respiratoratory failure and ONLY if NIPPV is not an option. Respirators are very invasive and their prolonged use can lead to a hosts of lifetime complications.

      Please see article below:
      https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/critical-care/oxygenation-and-ventilation/

      I hope this helps and if proven accurate can be used to modify present guidelines as ventilators and intubation shall be only considered as a last resort solutions.

      As to making the Brac a first point of entry … good one i burst out laughing at the thought ! I can picture our dear MoT handing them all a welcome cocktail already, now that would be a sight!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m hoping to see more of you, Moses. As well as the regular PPM members and of course the Hangers-On fanclub.

    If you truly think this will be safe, you all won’t have any fear and concerns with the possible increase in COVID-19 infections.😷

    Welcome to the worst version of an Orwellian nightmare with an ‘unproven to be of any Real benefit in preventing the spread of COVID-19 device’, The Moses Solution – info here:
    https://www.bioworld.com/articles/434976-biointellisense-continues-efforts-to-fight-covid-19-with-biobutton

  4. Anonymous says:

    Just keep the friggin borders closed until the end of January 2021. One more quarter (+ a month)of no visitors won’t sink these Island. We may even have a vaccine , or a credible therapeutic by the end of the year.

  5. Late Night Nookie says:

    What happens when you cozy up to your partner at 2am and your respiratory rate and heart rate shoot through the roof and the alarm goes off?!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Oh lord. Will this has another fiasco like the cctv cluster f$&@?!!! Not a good idea Moses/PPM!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    As usual those who can not be trusted don’t trust anyone else. You are just speaking for yourself here. Most people can and are trusted to follow the law. And we all know it is working in most of the developed world. Not everyone follows the law and those that do not face a very big fine. I know Cayman islands is not up to world standards as far as law enforcement is concerned but that should not be everyone’s problem. No one (including any minister) will listen to anyone who is only concerned about themselves.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Can CPR please start a petition to keep the borders closed on Sept 1st? Please let us get our kids back to school first.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I hope Minister Moses Kirkconnell is willing to show us just how safe his plan is. Anyone going to self isolate, he should personally welcome each of them to the island. Because we know not all will self isolate ( just search the news for many cases worldwide). And everyone OK to go to restaurants etc after 5 days, the Minister should also be welcoming them to join the community. Please , show us how safe it is.

    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely. I suggest that everyone be flown for a free day trip to the Brac, including lunch, while they wait for their day 5 test results.

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