Protecting Cayman’s bubble

| 26/10/2020 | 154 Comments

Aristophanes Duckpond writes: We currently live in a safe but very fragile bubble. The prudent decision-making of our government, together with the sacrifices made by our entire community, has kept us safe and has kept non-tourism parts of the economy ticking over, at least to this point.

Within the safety of the Cayman “bubble”, most of us have the luxury of sending our children to school, meeting with friends and family whenever we want, and going about our daily lives in an almost normal manner. 

Living our lives in an almost normal manner also means that we are living with very few, if any, measures that would limit the rapid spread of the virus if our quarantine/isolation measures were to fail.

We now have 20+ active cases of COVID-19, almost all being travel related, but things could have been much worse. They could also become much worse unless we limit the risks that we are taking. We need to limit those risks before the system breaks, not after the virus is let loose in our community.

The probability that infected travellers will arrive in Cayman has increased in recent weeks as infection rates in departure countries have gone up and the number of arrivals has increased. The probability that those on our front line who are exposed to these travellers will become infected has also gone up with the increasing numbers of travellers and the high viral loads that have been detected recently in arriving travellers. So has the risk of community spread.

One option for enhancing the current 14-day quarantine/isolation and testing protocol would be to require travellers to have airport COVID-19 rapid tests immediately prior to boarding as a condition of being allowed to board flights to Cayman. The airport-based COVID rapid tests that are available currently detect about 90% of infectious passengers prior to departure and would make flights much safer for all.

This week British Airways began offering day of departure COVID tests at London Heathrow for passengers travelling to countries that require such tests. Those tests are done at Heathrow two to three hours before departure and the results are available in just one hour. Persons testing positive are not permitted to board.

BA is not currently offering day of departure rapid testing for Cayman-bound flights because Cayman does not yet require such tests. In my view, we ought to do whatever is necessary to ensure that persons travelling to Cayman are required to have negative day of departure COVID tests prior to boarding any flight to Cayman.

Tampa airport started doing similar 1-hour pre-flight COVID testing at the beginning of October. Maybe Cayman Airways ought to be flying to and from Tampa rather than Miami in order to secure the safety of our airline crews, passengers and front-line workers. The logistics of that change may be complex, but surely our people are worth it.

The pre-flight COVID testing now available at Heathrow and Tampa is not a panacea, however. It is not as accurate as the arrival and subsequent PCR testing done in Cayman. It therefore cannot replace any part of what we currently do. However, as an add-on to our current protocol, it would detect approximately 90% of those who are infectious prior to those infected people being allowed onto Cayman-bound aircraft.

Detection of the infected people not detected by pre-flight testing would still require the current 14-day protocol, but the risk to other passengers, flight crews, front-line personnel in Cayman, and the rest of our population would be significantly reduced.

The experiences of other countries have shown that one misstep, one miscalculation of risk, one decision to bring in more flights than the system can handle, one occasion on which border bio-security is lax, one isolation/quarantine failure can produce disastrous results.

In Australia, a tiny number of people responsible for front-line implementation of the Australian quarantine/isolation programme slipped up. According to counsel for the independent enquiry now examining Australia’s Covid-19 disaster:

“The failure by the hotel quarantine program to contain the virus is responsible for the deaths of 768 and infection of some 18,418 others… It was a program which failed to meet its primary objective to keep us safe from the virus.”

A mandatory, scrupulously monitored and enforced, 14-day quarantine/isolation period combined with day of departure pre-flight testing and PCR testing at the time of arrival as well as testing after that 14-day period is the best option for limiting the spread of COVID-19 in Cayman.

There is another COVID-19 truth that some would have us ignore. There are now more than 700 people in isolation/quarantine at hundreds of sites on Grand Cayman. That is more than 1% of our population.

How many properly trained people do we have monitoring those hundreds of isolation sites on a 24/7 basis? Do we have the human and other resources to properly monitor even more sites as more and more people from countries with accelerating COVID infection rates are brought in?

The greater the number of sites at which quarantine/isolation is supposed to be occurring, and the greater the number of interactions between travellers and persons within our community, the greater the risk of bio-security lapses and the greater the risk to the country.

The experience of other countries demonstrates that a significant number of travellers who are required to isolate do not do so. In the UK up to 20% of travellers who were required to isolate did not comply with the rules. Iceland recently had over 100 new cases of COVID-19 resulting from just two non-residents who broke Iceland’s ‘tourist friendly’ self-isolation protocols for their own selfish reasons.  

Hopefully, our quarantine/isolation compliance monitoring systems are designed for the numbers being brought in and the level of abuse that has been found in other countries.

The proposed increase in penalties for breach of isolation/quarantine is definitely a step in the right direction. The introduction of geofencing was also appropriate, even if its efficacy is limited. No remote alarm is raised when people enter isolation accommodations to visit those supposedly isolating.

There is more that we can do to limit the potential for community spread. The latest Public Health Regulations make no apparent provision for a warning system designed to inform the unsuspecting public that potentially infected persons are supposed to be isolating in a given location.

Why is there no requirement for signs to be posted at isolation location access points to warn people approaching those locations to take precautions? Does the right to privacy of those choosing to isolate outside of government facilities outweigh the right to life of those that may inadvertently come into contact with them? Signs would also contribute to isolation enforcement as they would weaken the ‘I didn’t know’ defence of those breaching isolation locations from the outside.

We have all sacrificed to get to this point. Now is not the time to throw away what we have. Neither is it the time for any of us, whether we live on Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac or Little Cayman, to be used as guinea pigs in any tourist resort bubble experiments.

Those of us who appreciate just how fortunate we are, the majority in our community I believe, tend not to make our voices heard. Our voices are being drowned out by the voices of a few special interests with deep pockets and the ability to steer the editorial policy of some media towards obscuring facts and presenting fictions.

Let those of us who value what we have ensure that our political representatives know our views. Visit, text, phone or WhatsApp your elected representatives and urge them to ensure our border protocols limit the risk of importation of COVID. Urge our representatives to safeguard our bubble and to continue to base their decisions on proven science rather than the self-serving schemes of the few and wishful thinking.

Finally, each day remind yourself, your family and friends just how lucky we are to be in our Cayman bubble and how fragile that bubble is. Remember to thank all those who are working to keep us safe. They have done an excellent job to this point.  We need them to keep putting our people first.

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Category: Health, health and safety, Viewpoint

Comments (154)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If the issue with tourists is the 14 days the virus takes to show, why not just test the tourists 3 days before they fly and then the day they fly to Cayman and then every day for 14 days or until they leave using the new 1 hour tests. Quarantine anyone testing positive so they don’t infect anybody else or send them back if they are not too sick to move. We could test the people working in the resorts every day too. Problem solved.

    • Anonymous says:

      That would not prevent transmission into the community.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is pretty much what Bermuda is doing. They require a pre flight test and then do an arrivals test. I dont know the staging of tests after that but think it’s at 5 days, 8 days and then 14 days after arrival. Once you test negative at arrival you don’t have to quarantine after you receive the negative result. I believe all tests are PCR tests, as these are the only really accurate tests available.
      Bermuda opened their islands to tourists in July and have been running this program for at least 2 months. So far they have had little to no community transmission. Therefore the other responders to your post are wrong, community transmission can be prevented.
      Currently Cayman is like an ostrich with its head in the sand, hoping it will all go away and deciding to do nothing that will move us into a better position. There are alternatives that we should be looking at.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Has Bermuda found a way to reduce the incubation time for the coronavirus to less than 14 days using some type of medicine? Otherwise how can they test for a shorter time and be sure that the virus that tourists will not come out after 4 days when tourists are out in their stores and bars?

    • Anonymous says:

      The way I understand it Bermuda has required pre flight testing 3 days ahead of travel which creates a baseline to allow the visitor to get on a plane at all. This means when the visitor arrives and does a PCR test they are already 3 days into incubation in the unlikely event they are infected. Bermuda then does tests at specific points up to 14 days to verify that the visitor is still negative.
      It’s ultimately a numbers game with a decreasing probablity of being positive. If you remove positive people from getting on a plane in the first place due to a pre flight test, you stop infected people infecting others on the plane.
      The majority of people either shows symptoms or are asymptomatic and positive in the first 5 days after being infected, so the test at day 5 will pick up the vast majority of cases for people who got infected from pre flight test to arrival. The number of people who wouldn’t show positive in the arrivals, day 5 and day 10 tests but are positive in the day 14 test would be (statistically) very very small.
      This is how Bermuda has made it work. There is always a risk in everything we do but the fundamental question Bermuda asked themselves was is it worse to keep our tourism industry closed down and have a small risk of Covid or open it up with this testing process and have a slightly increased risk. So far it is working for them.

    • Hubert says:

      It’s called pre-flight testing before one arrives on the island. It can be done on an island.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Latest news from Madagascar is that Madagascar has an herbal organic cure for Covid which can be given to tourists instead of PCR testing and quarantine –

    If we are going to replace our 14 day quarantine and PCR testing protocol that has been proven to work with something that is not proven why don’t we try that one too while we are at it .

    Personally I think we would be nuts to throw away a system that is working for us based on short term anecdotal information..

  4. Anonymous says:

    Latest from Bermuda. The Minister of Health had a press conference today and this was part of her statement:

    “As you will have all hopefully heard by now, the CDC has reclassified Bermuda from Travel Health Notice Level 2 to Travel Health Notice Level 0. Level 0 means a ‘Travel Health Notice’ does not apply or, in other words, that Bermuda’s rating has been revised to the lowest level possible.

    This extremely welcome change comes as a result of negotiations led by the Ministry of Health with the assistance of the Caribbean Public Health Agency [CARPHA] and Government House; and is a testament to Bermuda’s strict testing regime and public health protocols.

    Our team has been working hard to keep the island safe from COVID-19 and our efforts continue to be recognized internationally. This change in our status with the United States CDC, will hopefully encourage more visitors to come to our shores and continue showcasing our strong and resilient island home.

    Previously, Bermuda was listed at an Alert Level 2, and the CDC recommended people at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 avoid nonessential travel to the island, and practice enhanced precautions.”

  5. Anonymous says:

    I thought it might be useful to introduce a few immunological facts into this thread and to suggest some light reading for anyone interested in actually understanding the issues. The basic point I would like to introduce is that rapid antigen tests are intended to detect people who are at the peak of their Covid infection, not people in the early stages of the infection but still capable of infecting others.
    Rapid antigen tests such as those used at some US airports cannot detect coronavirus as effectively as newer LAMP technologies in recently infected people. Therefore they should not be relied on as a substitute for the standard 14 day quarantine/isolation period.
    To quote a recent scientific article that appeared in Nature:
    ‘The tests detect specific proteins — known as antigens — on the surface of the virus, and can identify people who are at the peak of infection, when virus levels in the body are likely to be high.’
    Hope that helps people understand why the proposals to substantially reduce quarantine/isolation periods based on the use of rapid antigen testing are problematic at best.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am curious about claims on this thread that our CMO has said that we can shorten the quarantine/isolation period without risking community transmission. I would be very surprised if that was the case as the WHO, CDC, European CDC, and every other credible public health agency maintains that because the incubation period of Covid-19 is 2 – 14 days the quarantine/isolation period has to be that long.
    Would someone please point to the press release from the CMO saying that the quarantine/isolation period should be decreased?

    • Anonymous says:

      There is no press release. On the 17th July (over 3 months ago!) the government announced plans for opening the borders and included in that was a preflight PCR test, plus tests at various times during a shortened quarantine period. There could also have been a PCR test at the end of 14 days but I don’t remember if that was the case. Watch the video on Youtube and you will see many questions from the media which the Premier, Deputy Premier and Dr Lee were responding to including about a shorter quarantine.
      It is also well known that when the government went into its analysis of options one option which was vetted and cleared by the civil service was an option for preflight testing plus a shorter quarantine than 14 days. I have heard 8 and 10 days being talked about.
      Bermuda has now shown, over a period of months, that it is possible to restrict Covid transmission in the community with proper preflight and arrival testing and they don’t have any quarantine if you follow their guidelines on testing and pass. Many of the posters on CNS don’t want to hear this because it doesn’t fit into their world view that things are black and white. (14 day quarantine or no travellers at all). Bermuda has shown that you can think differently about how to manage Covid and it is time that Cayman started looking at this and to understand how we can progress forward. If you get past all the headline stories in the media you can also find many instances where the world is learning to live with Covid. It is time Cayman started to live with it as well. Covid is not going away anytime soon.

      • Anonymous says:

        So basically, what you are saying is that the CMO and public health officials in most jurisdictions looked at shortening the period of quarantine considered it closely and then rejected the idea as unsafe based on the known science.

        • Anonymous says:

          No, what I am saying is that the experts were happy to implement a shortened quarantine period but that they were over ruled by the politicians. It is important for people to understand that Cayman’s political leaders have continued to drag their feet on opening the country when others have not and those others, including Bermuda are making it work. (Remember we are in election mode already!)
          The concept of mass testing only works if you are a small country and rely on tourism as a major part of your economy. It is viable because it is manageable, as Bermuda and a number of other caribbean islands have shown. It wouldn’t work the same or as well, in the USA or UK simply based on the massive numbers of people coming and going. Plus their testing resources are deployed more generally dealing with Covid.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The new preflight rapid testing, like at Heathrow, would be an obvious screening step to prevent the importation of new active cases of the disease, if we aren’t bothering with 72hr pre-flight PCR. It goes both ways. Cayman resident travelers are not getting any special diplomatic quarantine waivers going northbound, because our statistical active case load is still chalking up positives like we are in an uncontrolled environment. Let’s get it to zero and hold it there, to represent the true community situation. USA still has us on a level 3 travel advisory!!! As Travel and Leisure published this past week, what Global Citizen is enticed by a level 3? How do we keep allowing our industry travel leaders and professionals to not understand their industry, and remain in their important/critical gatekeeping position?!?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Not everyone agrees that keeping the coronavirus out of our community should be a priority. A few very wealthy people who own business interests here but do not live here are among those who place a low priority on our safety.

    Narratives have appeared in other media that simply disregard the facts regarding Sars-CoV-2, tout pseudo-scientific tech toys that have no proven efficacy in controlling Covid-19, and advocate unproven and inherently risky protocols on the basis that these risky protocols have apparently been proposed or adopted in other countries. The logic of those narratives differs little from the pleas of a whining child who complain to his parents that he should be allowed to do unhealthy, irrational and risky things simply because the parents of his friends supposedly allow unhealthy, irrational and risky behaviour.

    • Anonymous says:

      You sound like a broken record. Have anything else to do? Or every 4th comment is yours?

    • Anonymous says:

      This is so warped it’s sick. It presupposes that the only people who wish to bring in more reasonable and practical Covid restrictions are “a few very wealthy people who own business interests here but do not live here”. Where does this come from? Seriously it’s so warped it’s insane!
      So anyone who lives here must think that we must stick to our guns and go down with the ship? Well I don’t!
      The reality is this. We are isolated and this is not something we can do for any significant length of time. Already we are seeing businesses close down with the lighthouse restaurant being the latest casualty. This will not stop and will only accelerate when the tipping point is reached.
      Before too long there won’t be many tourism businesses left to restart. They will have either closed permanently, lost their working capital or will have had enough of a brain drain with people leaving that getting them going again will be impossible.
      This isn’t about instituting “inherently risky protocols”. Both the CMO and the civil service have made recommendations that we can have shorter quarantine periods with pre flight PCR testing. Do you think they would endorse protocols which were on the wrong side of risky?
      Sorry but the writer of this article has shown why we need a more open and honest conversation about where we go next. Filling us with continual fear about doing anything other than isolation is not the way to go. There are alternatives and they need to be discussed in an open and constructive fashion.

      • Joey says:

        Honest question: do you think that if Cayman were to let in a lot more tourists, and isolate them for less than 14 days, and therefore Covid were spreading on the island, that enough people would have come out to dine in restaurants to save places like the Lighthouse?

  9. Anonymous says:

    There are other issues apart from people visiting those who are supposed to be isolating. What happens to the potentially contaminated household waste produced by people in isolation, particularly in the case of multi-unit buildings? How will that be handled so as to ensure that neither other people using communal waste disposal areas within a complex, nor DEH employees, become infected?

    • Anonymous says:

      Is mental health facility finished? No offense, you need help. ASAP

    • Anonymous says:

      Not potentially, but contaminated with all kind of bacterias and viruses medical waste from hospitals and doctor’s offices is being taken daily to the Dump in regular trash bags.
      Why you don’t worry about this? How many people come in direct contact with it?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Putting the cowardly, nauseating and sad aspect of complete surrender at any cost aside, it’s to what end? If anyone believes our strategy is sustainable indefinitely then they are living in a juvenile fantasy.

    So, if you agree our strategy is not sustainable indefinitely where/when is our event horizon? Do we have an event horizon?

    What are the benchmarks on our path to normalization. Someone in charge needs to figure it out and let us know so we can plan our lives accordingly. Not all of us are retired with secure salaries or independently wealth.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sadly they will only see the end coming when it hits them over the head. Can you go independent when you owe everyone money? Will the UK step in and take over or run for cover? After the big change and ten years to fix will Cayman Islands return to functional? Look at what they have done and not done in the last ten years. I hope whoever takes over is not Caymanian!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Good commentary Duckpond. Thanks

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, it is just wonderful commentary. In a nutshell, Cayman should just duck & hide rather than fight for its future survival.
      Not what most people here are about. The people of Cayman are fighters & survivors, not cowards hiding in fear, as the Government would prefer to have you.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The Covid testing at Heathrow is saliva swab test of a type called a Lamp test (Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification).

    This is a completely different type of test that is far more effective at detecting early infections than the antigen tests offered at Miami.

    As part of the ‘resort bubble’ nonsense the promoters have tried to tell government that the Miami antigen tests are fine for letting people into Cayman. They are not.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is false. The proposed rapid antigen test would only be in addition to TWO PCR tests (one performed 72 hours prior to departure and the second at the departure airport or on arrival). The rapid antigen test would be intended as an additional screen prior to boarding as recommended by some airlines. Currently, returning residents do not have any tests before landing in Cayman, which is why we have more active cases on Island than Bermuda (the point of the original post). We should certainly seek out new technology like the LAMP test and other emerging technologies to supplement multiple PCR tests when it becomes available. Multiple rounds of PCR testing can very effectively screen incoming residents and visitors as has been demonstrated in Bermuda and other countries over the last four months.

    • Out of work resort employee says:

      That is false. The proposal from most major resorts is for TWO PCR tests for screening (one 72 hours prior to departure and one at the departure airport or on arrival into Cayman). The rapid antigen test is only for screening purposes at the airport as currently utilized by some airlines. The sensitivity for detecting COVID-19 with three different tests (TWO PCR, one rapid antigen) prior to arrival is incredibly high. Far fewer cases would be reported on Island than with testing only on arrival and there is far less risk to the community. Pre-arrival PCR testing is why Bermuda has only 9 active COVID-19 cases despite having more than 15,000 visitors whereas Cayman has 22 with only a few hundred returning residents. Remember also that Bermuda is not requiring a resort bubble/quarantine. It certainly makes sense to supplement PCR testing with the LAMP test or other newer technologies as they become available, but it’s important not to misrepresent the current consensus proposal of multiple PCR tests.

  13. Anonymous says:

    ‘Why is there no requirement for signs to be posted at isolation location access points to warn people approaching those locations to take precautions? Does the right to privacy of those choosing to isolate outside of government facilities outweigh the right to life of those that may inadvertently come into contact with them?’
    Over dramatic sci fi movie?

    • Anonymous says:

      More than that. Insanity!

    • Anonymous says:

      5.37pm Maybe some want a time in history when people walked shouting ‘unclean, unclean’.

    • Joey says:

      Yes, this idea is ridiculous and overkill. When we were in quarantine, if someone came to the door we simply told them, through the door: “we are in quarantine, and cannot answer the door”. Everyone on this island knows exactly what that means and it worked just fine.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Covid is out of control in the US and UK. Now is not the time to be even thinking of bringing in tourists!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      So is the Flu, Heart attacks, Cancer, Etc. OMG! And all your food and material comes from there! Not to mention the a lot of the money That used to keep Cayman running. Run! Hide! There is Covid on Island right now! Don’t even think about going outside!

  15. Anonymous says:

    The jury is still out on the bermuda experiment. If you want to go off island you can you will just have to quarantine when you return. Dont be so selfish.

    • Anonymous says:

      Still out??? What nearly 3 months has not proved anything?

    • Anonymous says:

      “Don’t be so selfish.” That’s an interesting comment coming from someone who obviously doesnt want to hear about any other possible alternatives, including those that might actually allow our tourism industry to get by for the next 6 months.
      Bermuda opened its borders in July and has been running with enhanced testing for at least a couple of months. How long does it need to run before you would accept that it might just possibly be a good option?
      Are you prepared to pay 50% of your pay check to those in tourism who have lost their jobs? If not get with the program and start thinking creatively about how we open up our borders.
      This is our only other option. Everyone working for government or within financial services pays a large proportion of their monthly paycheck into a fund which goes towards paying those who used to work in tourism and dont have a job.

    • Big Bobo says:

      Like hell the jury is out on Bermuda. Everybody who has looked closely at the situation in Bermuda agrees what Bermuda is doing works. We are such a stupid people incapable of learning from others.

    • Hubert says:

      The Centre For Disease Control has made their decision : BERMUDA : Level 2 Alert. That means 1} Get a test before you go to Bermuda 2} Wear a mask 3} Practice social distancing.

      What more do you need from a jury of doctors?

  16. Anonymous says:

    I understand that there is a proposal to have the people on the Brac and Little Cayman be guinea pigs in some resort bubble scheme. Apparently, the thinking is that people there are more gullible and in any case if Covid spreads on those islands then anybody with any infectious disease can be sent there in the future sort of like they used to do with leper colonies.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think that, given some of the posts on this site, and the general tone of this particular “Viewpoint”, a lot of people would support this 14th century idea – we are doomed!

  17. Anonymous says:

    At some point this will all become moot when the money runs out and Caymanian’s are begging for tourists to come back and spend…

    It’s not a coincidence crime is on the rise. People are desperate and things will only get worse while leadership lacks workable reopening plan

  18. Out of work resort employee says:

    The proposal from multiple Caymanian owned hotels for reopening to stay over tourists includes:
    1. PCR testing 3 days prior to departure
    2. Rapid antigen testing at the departure airport (this can be done in Miami)
    3. Repeat PCR testing at the departure airport (this can be done in Miami) or on arrival into Cayman
    4. Repeat PCR testing 4 days after arrival and again at 8 days (if visitors stay more than 1 week)
    5. Periodic PCR testing of hotel employees

    With multiple rounds of testing, the risk that infected visitors arrive on our shores will be exceedingly low and much lower than the current policy of only testing on arrival.

    Further, the isolation of stay over visitors within designated resorts with mask wearing requirements, social distancing, PPE and other best practices in place dramatically lowers the risk of community transmission in the very rare case of an undetected infection. Visitors will be prevented from leaving the property with geo-fencing and will be monitored much more closely than those in home isolation.

    The proposal is essentially Bermuda’s protocol combined with the resort isolation or bubble concept that has been used in St. Lucia, Hawaii and soon St. Kitts and Nevis. It’s worth noting that there are fewer active COVID-19 cases in Bermuda than in our Islands right now.

    We can reopen safely and save the livelihoods of countless Caymanians to prevent the downstream economic damage and resulting societal ills that many have not contemplated. COVID-19 mortality continues to drop with new therapies (survival rate is currently >99.7%), but the virus will not be eradicated even with a vaccine – we have to learn to live with it.

    Let’s focus on working together to set an example for the world in implementing the very best protocol to reopen safely.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hell no!

    • Anonymous says:

      That is a ridiculous proposal that defies all of the rules of pandemic containment.

      I do not want to be a guinea pig in someone else’s for profit experiment. I suspect that this is what the writer of the article was warning about.

      The only safe option requires airport testing, 14 days of quarantine/isolation and repeat PCR testing after 14 days.

      Are those proposing this scheme prepared to put up a performance bond to cover all the potential costs and damages to government and all residents and other tourists that will arise if this proposal is implemented? Thought not.

      • Anonymous says:

        Did anyone take a bond out for the 25 t0 30 million per month the CIG is burning through right now? What about all the damages being done currently to all the businesses and people who work in the tourism industry?
        Guess it depends on who’s ox is getting gored?

    • Anonymous says:

      Better yet, let’s focus on not being guinea pigs, basing decisions on science rather than wishful thinking, and opening when it is safe to do so. Sounds much more sensible.

    • Anonymous says:

      We would rather not have tourists or hotels, thank you. I don’t know any Caymanian owners. I do know that that the industry fails to employ Caymanians, pays derisory wages, and chases us from the beach. You want to risk our parents lives and our children’s ability to attend school, for that?

    • Anonymous says:

      What those donkeys never thought about was the staff. They have to go home every day, to the bars, restaurants, supermarkets, schools to pick up their kids, church etc.

      Plus whoever is in their household expands the risk. The hotel staff would be the vector spreading the disease if they too weren’t require to isolate.

      If you did that then kiss the Caymanian/local hotel staff goodbye- who have families on island to support. It just can’t work, but don’t tell the hoteliers that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Doesn’t sound like much of a vacation…

    • Anonymous says:

      Your basing your idea on pure science and evidence. And pushing it on a Culture of ignorance and feelings. Watch what happens and learn. Hotels here are doomed along with all the restaurants, watersports, stores, car rentals, etc. But Covid is in control till further notice. First get rid of the fear. Then see what it cost.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Requiring airport Covid testing for people flying to Cayman and requiring signs to warn people that people on the other side of a door are in isolation are both excellent suggestions that will cost little and make us much safer. Hopefully someone in authority is paying attention.

  20. Anonymous says:

    The Quarantine is working as well as any human run endeavor but it is working. Lots of folks here on island don’t have any confidence in their fellow man just following the laws but so far so good. If some one screws up will you finally make them take responsibility? What if they are Caymanian royalty? Maybe that’s why your scared to let it continue but many of us here need to go off island and back and we must learn to live with the virus or fail with our lives. We get you don’t care about anyone but yourselves. We get you could care less but hopefully you will realize that none of us who need to go and return have any reason to listen to you crying that you need everyone to live under a rock and hide from the world because you are now too scared to participate.

    • Anonymous says:

      People should absolutely be free to go and come back – as long as they follow sensible rules that keep us all safe. As far as I can tell that is what the writer of this Viewpoint was saying.

      • Anonymous says:

        That is not what the writer is saying – he/she wants to put up signs to identify those in quarantine??? Maybe use a skull and crossbone with biohazard written in big letters? How can this witches and pitchforks xenophobia be posted as a Viewpoint?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Will the writer please stop with this scare tactic. Our country and way of living is about to fall off a cliff because of……a couple of people getting the flu. Here are the facts for the 400th time. If you ar elderly you should be worried, then stay home. If you have a serious illness, stay home you should be worried. Everyone else, don’t worry. Go live your life. Please stop these scare tactics cns. Old people die that is life. This delusion has to end.

    • Anonymous says:

      I drive 100mph on the bypass every day with my eyes closed and am still alive. People die who are not driving. That proves that we should all drive recklessly and anybody who is afraid to die should stay at home!
      – the preceeding was sarcasm in case it was not clear. I am really really tired of the Covid-idiots out there who say that we should ignore this pandemic.

      • Anonymous says:

        Just because you are afraid to think rationally doesn’t make us idiots. The facts are just inconvenient to your position. I suggest you study the data first and then think for yourself.

        • Anonymous says:

          The country is not falling off a cliff. It is facing a pandemic and doing very well in comparison with most other small islands. The Viewpoint contains facts as generally recognised by the world. Your response is what is irrationally alarmist.

          • Anonymous says:

            In short, you’re good to hell with everyone else.

          • Anonymous says:

            Tell the thousands of hotel workers who have lost their livelihood how “very well” we are doing.

            • Anonymous says:

              I would but most are leaving for their countries of origin. I wish them well, and hope that their employers have paid the sums due to them. I also hope that if tourism ever comes back as an industry it has Caymanians profitably involved, and does not require the mass importation of poverty to sustain it.

              • Anonymous says:

                Livin’ the dream there are ya!?!
                Caymanians have always had the opportunity to work in the tourism industry but the pay wasn’t enough to buy the newest vehicle. But what they didn’t know is that you CAN be successful in this industry.
                It is unfortunate that working in the industry is frowned upon. Doesn’t look good to the neighbor. Need an office job with a uniform preferably. That’s what we like.

                I am Caymanian

      • Anonymous says:

        No one should ignore the virus, but to think a country, however small and great, could isolate themselves from it, is a fantasy. Finding a way to live with it and move forward carefully should be the goal. If not, then the consequences of the virus will be felt long, long after the pandemic ends.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Some interesting points from AD but once again a complete lack of abilty to get past the 2 week restriction thinking.
    The trouble for government is that it has done such a good job of creating a covid free Cayman bubble that it has nowhere good to go and this will limit our ability to reopen our country to the world.
    The rapid pre flight test is a step in the right direction but if you are also going to enforce a PCR test on arrival it would be better to enforce a PCR test 3 days before travel to allow people who test positive, and are presumably asymptomatic, to stay at home. Allowing people to plan and prepare is really important here. A PCR test 3 days before travel also allows you a baseline to start with which occurs before arrival.
    At some point we have to start reducing the 14 day quarantine and this can only happen when we enforce pre flight PCR testing to stop anyone travelling who is positive. This will allow Cayman to reduce the 14 day quarantine in phases from 14 days to 10 days, to 8 and then to 5. Why is this important?
    Even with a vaccine available to everyone on the island Covid isnt going to stop circulating around the world and it will likely be 2022 before it dies down properly. This means we need to learn to live with it.
    Vaccines are not going to be the silver bullet that government has portrayed them as. Like the flu shot, the covid vaccines will not stop the disease happening in all people. In some people they will stop the disease and in others they will reduce the severity of the symptoms. In some the disease will still be severe.
    This means we need to figure out how we can reopen our tourism based economy in a responsible way.
    Think my comments are stupid, please think again. There are a number of countries which are already doing this. Bermuda is one of them and there tourism industry is open to the world. Their extensive testing program means if you test negative pre flight and on arrival no quarantine is required. They have not experienced any significant community transmission.
    I am not advocating a no quarantine policy here but it is important for people to understand that the doom and gloom merchants have it wrong. There is an alternative to consider and its time we did just that.

    • Anonymous says:

      People are free to get tested 3 days, 4 days or anytime they want before travel. The point of airport testing is that it prevents infectious people from getting on planes with non-infected people who would rather not get sick. As for Bermuda, their hotels are operating at 10% and most of those are staycationers. Bermuda is taking a huge risk for the entire country for little if any reward that is only available to a few.

      • Anonymous says:

        Bermuda is taking a risk to start opening and kick start a failing economy. They want and plan for the future. Hawaii is also opening up for the same reason as are many places that depend on travelers. Their economies will survive and in the future they will reap the benefits of being available to all that traveler money that has been saved up. Caymanian thinking is based of fear. Fear of dying of something other than a heart attack, Cancer, the flu, or old age. Fear of catching it and giving it to some one(like the flu or a cold) and now they also have only a 99% of dying from it. So they will not catch it and they will be alive to watch Caymans economy die. Not much of a future.

      • Anonymous says:

        The point about airport travel is that you are screening people ahead of time that has a number of positives. Firstly you are giving confidence to those people travelling to your destination that you are managing Covid well and the other people sitting next to them don’t have covid. Secondly screening people 3 days before they fly allows you to be more effective at catching people early on in their stay, as it gives you a 3 day head start.
        This approach cannot work without significant testing being done on both arrivals and within the community but it has been shown to be effective.
        I find it weird that you say Bermuda is taking a huge risk for little reward. You obviously don’t work in tourism here! Bermuda has been running this program for at least 2 months with little to no community transmission but they have kept their tourism industry alive. Cayman’s tourism industry is literally on life support. Where is the risk in your thinking about killing one of our primary sources of revenue for long term social and economic well being of our community? Isn’t there a massive risk in that too?

      • Hubert says:

        2:48, Please stop putting forth false news. Bermuda hotels are running at 61% capacity and they have been following a progressive set of rules for tourists since July 1. The Bermuda economy is doing very well today considering the circumstances.

        You need to get out of denial and look at the facts.

        • Anonymous says:

          Thank you. This 10% rubbish they keep spouting is just that.
          Flying into MIA just a few days ago and waiting over 2 hours to clear immigration shows just how many people are traveling!

    • Hubert says:

      Wish someone could ask the Premier if they have looked at the Bermuda model and if no, why not? The Bermuda model can work here. Why are we being so stupid?

      • Anonymous says:

        If you have to ask?

      • Anonymous says:

        Bermuda is so far in debt they have to take the risk. We are not in debt like they are we should not accept the risk.

        • Anonymous says:

          Exactly – thank you.

        • Big Bobo says:

          This time next year we will have personal income tax and debt. The current CIG approach is not economically sustainable. People better pray there is a vaccine in a year or we will be in total economic chaos. Direct rule will have to take place.

          • Anonymous says:

            Or competent leadership to navigate it, whichever comes first. Alden and Co. nor Boris and goons have been flying on all cylinders in their conquests for paper gratification and crown prestige, pandemic made it worse.

        • Anonymous says:

          Please tell that to every tourism related business that hasn’t had any significant work since March of this year!
          This is nothing about debt and everything about whether you are ruled by fear or some level of common sense. If Bermuda can bring in a significant numbers of tourists and manage Covid then there is no reason Cayman can’t too.
          Rather than acknowledge that and say, “hey they be onto something here…” you are just in denial and unable to see past your own singular need.

        • Hubert says:

          You obviously have no idea how rapidly the Cayman Islands is moving into a serious debt situation. 2021 is going to be hell economically unless we start thinking outside the box like Bermuda is on the tourism front.

      • Anonymous says:

        If he wasnt aware that leaders of countries were taking salary cuts from months ago, Im pretty sure he will also be unaware of the Bermuda model…..or any other model not dicated by the UK.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Over 700 people in quarantine or home-isolation!! CNS can you find out how those of us who deliver food know which houses/condos to not deliver to? Is there some sort of “warning” or “caution: signs/flags that would tell us that the persons inside are under quarantine or in home-isolations? I know that Alaska and Newport, RI are requiring visiting ships to use the Lima flags (yellow and black) to warn other that they have a Covid-19 carrier on board. Do we have any similar warning signs in Cayman?

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you really think that leaving food outside someone’s door poses a serious risk? And yes, great idea to potentially curb deliveries to those in isolation – it will really encourage them to stay there….

      • Anonymous says:

        1:53 If you had half a brain you would understand the concern of the above comment. Many food delivery places knock on the door or ring the door bell. If there is no sign or signal and the tenant of the house comes to open the door to provide payment (if it has not already been paid for via phone etc.), the delivery man or woman can be exposed. It is a valid concern.

        Having a sign can help to alleviate worries as delivery personnel will know to proceed cautiously and leave the food outside etc.

        • Anonymous says:

          If you “had half a brain” you would have read the original comment which said that they wanted to completely avoid delivery to people in self isolation. It can easily be done safely with pre-payment and pre-arranged leaving at the door. It is not rocket science and we do not need to “mark” those in isolation to satisfy the prurient curiosity of the masses.

        • Anonymous says:

          What part of the rules do you not get ” Pre Payment ‘” of delivery.
          Knock and leave.

          Use you smart half a brain …. If you have one.

        • Anonymous says:

          They should always leave the food outside. Problem is they are expecting a tip.

        • Anonymous says:

          Having been through the process, I had cooked food delivered twice in 16 days, and groceries left outside (I stuck up a note to say please leave deliveries outside, and took it down once delivered). My neighbours knew we were in isolation and didn’t stop by, the travel team tell you not to open the door to anyone, seriously what more do you want? Of the 700, maybe 3% are infected, and if you are, I am pretty sure you would be taking extra precautions over and above the ones I described. Plus where was your fear when we had 200 positive cases staying at home…with zero monitoring?

          • Anonymous says:

            10.18 am Exactly and delivery people are are well trained now and know what to do since March.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman’s port authority still lists the yellow flag as a notice of potential infection on board a ship in our waters. No such luck for those of us on land.

      • Anonymous says:

        A Yellow flag on a ship does NOT mean you have a potential infection on board at all! In fact it is a sign that your vessel is health!

        • Anonymous says:

          The Q flag – yellow was a sign of infection on board but has now been replaced by various forms that are transmitted. For those interested,
          In years gone by, editions of the International Code of Signals (ICOS) did contain signals for vessels that suspected they harbored, or could be harboring, contagious diseases. In Brown’s 1916 edition the L (Lima) flag (black and yellow squares) signified ‘I have or had some dangerous, infectious disease on board.’ And this meaning was continued in the 1923 and 1931 editions.

          • Anonymous says:

            Like I said it does not mean “I have a infection onboard” it means ‘My vessel is “healthy” and I request free pratique’

            Keep goggling back 100 years if you like but in my 30 years at sea this is what it means

  24. Anonymous says:

    I agree with London and Tampa testing 3 hours before departure and getting results in one hour and if positive not allowed on the plane. Why Cayman Government dont make that the rule for BA passengers coming to Cayman ? and why not CAL fly to Tampa where they have the 3 hour test at the Airport instead of flying to Miami

  25. Anonymous says:

    Why would the pre testing require a 14 day isolation.
    It is fact from all laboratories that the most effective time to detect is day 7/8 after possible exposure.
    If one was infected on the flight that would show up at day 7. Now there is more chance of a false negative on day 14 that’s fact.
    So yes pre testing is the way forward as is testing on day 7/8.

    • Anonymous says:

      We must keep 14 days of isolation and add airport testing. The incubation period for Covid is 2 – 14 days. Anyone infected in the day or 2 before getting on a plane would not be detected at the airport and would likely not be infectious on the plane but they may not test positive until 14 days so if we want to keep Covid out we must keep 14 days in!

    • Anonymous says:

      “Now there is more chance of a false negative on day 14 that’s fact.”
      I’m guessing statistics and logic were not part of your education.

  26. Anon Comment says:

    We have all worked so hard to keep our community safe and it should just be a matter of a few more months before we can ALL have the vaccine and open up Cayman safely. The end is in sight…MLAs please don’t succumb to the economic pressure and risk killing any of our fellow Caymanians…

    CNS: Small request – could you use a different alias to ‘CNS Comment’? People might think it is one of us. I’ve changed the name for this comment. Thanks!

  27. Anonymous says:

    What a load of utter nonsense based on 8 months of being brainwashed by relentless media saturation. You’d think nothing else was happening in the world apart from Covid. A disease that has a remarkably low death rate.

    And imagine being in a foreign country wanting to come home only to be told, no, you’ve tested positive and despite the fact that in itself doesn’t really mean much of anything, there’s a sofa based epidemiologist in Cayman that decided they know everything and you should not come home and quarantine for 14 days (itself way too long and not scientifically proven to be anything other than a random line drawn in the sand).

    Just stop this gibberish. take a look around the world. What hospitals are overflowing? When you read a twitter headline about ICU beds max’d out….there were only ever 5 beds in the ICU. Or when you gorge on the latest case rates – go and test the world for herpes, you’ll be astonished at the pandemic of herpes thats going on now we’re being tested.

    OMG! The whole thing is insane. Take a look at death rates averages over the past 20 years. We are nowhere near the top year. And Covid isn’t even the top 5 of killers in the UK this year. But you wouldn’t know, nor do you want to because you’ve been watching the news nonstop for 8 months and like anything else that is repeated and beaten into you and us, we end up believing it.

    And now ask yourself, where is the flu gone? Or how many people have really died OF Covid rather than WITH Covid? Or how many positive cases are infact double counts of the same person? and on. And On.

    yes, its contagious and it can be really bad for some people. But so is fear porn. And you’ve swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

    The world has gone mad.

    • Anonymous says:

      Gotta be a braindead Trump loon. Evidence-based policies don’t require panicking. Find better information sources and you won’t sound so dumb.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why don’t you lock yourself down for the foreseeable future. We’ll give you the all-clear when it’s safe.

    • Anonymous says:

      Covid isn’t even one of the top 10 killers

      • Anonymous says:

        The people who die of covid are still dead and many of those deaths could have been avoided.

        • Anonymous says:

          *Die with Covid

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, they could. So could have all the people dying everyday in hospitals around the world from resistant bacteria…but that doesn’t make the headlines. Would you know anything about that? The big bad WHO says we may have already lost the battle and we are just holding on. Do you hear that? Ever make the news there, everyday, 5 times a day? No?? Oh man, sounds like you know a lot about viruses though. Sorry, I guess I just assumed.
          Please, resume with spewing more stupidity.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said, and can someone please remind everyone a PCR test has NEVER been a diagnostic test of any active infection, nor have they actually identified COVID19 itself, which should make you wonder how a magical vaccine can possibly be made…. (you can check this info on the CDC website if you think I’m making it up)

      Time to get back to living and open if you want any chance of reigniting tourism, there are plenty of alternatives for people to go that are actually open and doing fine.

    • Anonymous says:

      You forgot to mention that the world is flat and therefore Covid does not exist. That would have been your best and most rational argument.

  28. Insider says:

    I totally agree that there a number of risks with the self isolation system which could cause problems, however I believe the system put in place for hotel quarantine is excellent at least from a safety point of view. I say this with first hand knowledge being currently incarcerated at the Holiday Inn.We have been nowhere near a human being since we arrived in the back of a bus, all meals are left outside our door as are any supplies brought by family members. Guards are in place 24 hours a day in the corridor and other guards patrol the perimeter of the hotel.At the airport we were Covid tested by officials in full hazmat suits and we had to wear our face masks at all times.We are not allowed outside the room at any time so boredom and lack of exercise makes life very difficult, albeit we knew what was coming.
    Given our experience which makes Northward look like a Sandals resort, I have absolute confidence in the hotel quarantine system and feel it is as safe as can be, and highly unlikely that it will be a source of contagion amongst the public.

    • Anonymous says:

      For what reason are you doing this for 14 days. You could be tested on day 7 and be free if negative?

      • Anonymous says:

        Nonsense. Its 14 days minimum.

      • anon says:

        2.12pm I have no choice and it will probably be 16 days allowing for receipt of my exit test result, which I earnestly pray will be negative.

        • Anonymous says:

          I sincerely hope your test results are negative too! Can I ask though, if your results are positive, what then? More testing at what intervals? I have a family member coming in soon.

          • anon says:

            8.45am That’s a good question, I believe I would be retested at fairly frequent intervals until I have 2 negative tests. However if this takes several weeks longer they would need to isolate me in the Mental Ward at the hospital.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Not requiring a rapid COVID test before departure seems crazy at this point. Such low hanging fruit.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I completely agree.

    The vaccine trials seem to be going well and it should be possible to open safely early in the new year.

    • Anonymous says:

      Really? You’re willing to get a vaccine that’s been rushed through? For a virus that has over a 99% survival rate???? I am 100% for vaccination in general – all of my kids received their standard vaccines and I totally side-eye those who are against vaccinating their kids. But this is totally different.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with the viewpoint. However, there is almost no chance of us being able to open safely early in the new year.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who says the vaccine trials are going well other than Trump and his political supporters?

    • DLF says:

      As a part of one of the major vaccine trials I am confident there will be a safe vaccine approved by the end of the year, however; the idea that the vaccine will allow Cayman to open safely in the early new year is not realistic. There will not be enough vaccine available for everyone in the world, and even if every person in the Cayman Islands had the vaccine available to them, would everyone get vaccinated? If we wait for the world to be vaccinated we will be waiting forever. Think of the anti-vaccine contingent, there will be many people that refuse to get vaccinated regardless of the safety level of the vaccine.

      If we wait for a vaccine we may as well resign ourselves to the likelihood of living in this bubble for a very, very long time. Not months but years, several years, and we may as well forget about tourism returning because by the time we have that vaccine and the world gets vaccinated all of those guests that were once loyal to Cayman will have found another place to travel.

      It’s a sad reality that CIG is willing to allow an industry to die without even considering a better way to bring people to this island. Pre-test, test upon arrival, test on day 4, etc….there’s a way to do this but unfortunately, CIG is not going to pull their heads out of the sand and be open to other ideas.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not really. It’s looking like it doesn’t last. Same reason there’s no vaccine for the common cold which is also a corona virus.

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