Criteria for opening border taking shape

| 08/01/2021 | 39 Comments
Cayman News Service
Premier Alden McLaughlin at Thursday’s press briefing

(CNS): The full criteria for how the Cayman Islands borders will be reopened in March is beginning to take shape. Officials are hoping that over the next three months as many as 70% of adults will get vaccinated against COVID-19, enabling local people to travel more freely once again and visitors to return. The rules on how things will work have yet to be formalised but it is clear that the vaccine is central to the plan.

“It is my firm belief that the vaccine is the way out of this pandemic, not just for Cayman, but for the world,” the premier stated Thursday. “If we all do our duty and play our part by being vaccinated, we should be in a position by the end of March to have immunized enough of our residents for Cayman to resume an even greater sense of normalcy, to be able to travel much more freely and to allow people into our country without too much trepidation.”

Given that the vaccines are not yet cleared for children and some people remain at risk of an allergic reaction to vaccines, unless a significant number of people here are inoculated, the virus will still pose a threat to the community. Therefore, government will not be able to open the borders without retaining some regulations and quarantine requirements.

The current plan is to require all returning travellers to have both a pre-arrival negative test from an approved lab and the full course (both shots) of a vaccine.

If children or other unvaccinated parties are travelling together, it seems likely that the entire group will still be required to quarantine, though the length of the isolation period may be reduced.

Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee, who will be advising the government on the new parameters, said these were still under discussion. He said the changes in the prevalence of the virus in the coming weeks will be an important point of consideration.

Although the coronavirus is running rampant in Europe, the United States and other parts of the world following the winter surge, and despite the emergence of mutations that spread much more quickly, Dr Lee said we will soon begin to see new infections decline as the vaccine is rolled out. He said the return of warmer weather will also reduce the spread.

According to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker, as of yesterday 17.5 million first doses of the vaccines have now been administered. However, there is still a long way to go before the vaccine will start to have a notable impact on the spread of the virus, given the current tally of around 23 million active cases around the world.

But the premier remained confident yesterday that with a significant take-up of the voluntary free vaccine, the worst of the impact of this pandemic will soon be over here.

“We know the hardships we have faced because our borders have, for the most part, been closed for over nine months,” he said. “Today everyone coming here must be quarantined at not insignificant cost for two weeks. They must be tested on arrival and again before they can leave quarantine. This is a process that we cannot keep up indefinitely,” he warned.

Noting that the borders cannot remain closed forever, McLaughlin said, “We will not be able to maintain the bubble that we have created indefinitely. This vaccine is our best hope.”

However, he said that “we are not out of the woods yet” and that “we now need to provide everyone the best chance possible to maintain the gains that we have made. To do so requires us to take the vaccine.”

See Thursday’s vaccine press conference on CIGTV below:

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Category: Health, Local News, Medical

Comments (39)

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  1. DB says:

    Why not just keep the island closed until 2022?

    Seriously no plan will be perfect and no plan will make everyone happy.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am so fortunate to live in the Cayman Islands.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow! And who is really nuts here?
    #1 this is an immune system booster, not a vaccine. There are no virus, dead or live or any parts of the virus in the “vaccine “.
    #2 If you got “vaccinated” you can still contract covid, if you get the vaccine you can still pass it on to others, you can also get the covid symptoms so I ask – what is the point of having the vaccine right now?
    #3 CDC and Pfizer are investigating the first death of a healthy Miami doctor that may have a link to the shot. 3 days after he got the shot, Petechiae started developing on his skin, his platelets were completely destroyed and despite best efforts of the best us doctors he died quickly in 2 weeks. His body attacked his own platelets and destroyed it to zero. It is in the news.
    So 2 weeks of quarantine is nothing compared to that

  4. Anonymous says:

    Nothing is going to be perfect. But we must make sure we try what we can to open the borders as well as never having to take our kids out of school again. So until this has died down a bit the strict rules need to remain. If you can’t provide a negative test before arrival, sorry. They are easily bought online now in the US. Ive had many friends do it and results came back within the 72 hours.

    Let’s take this time to reshape what tourism should look like from when we can open. Do we want to be the smash and grab island or do we want the tourists to get to know our island by actually staying for a week?

  5. Can you ask questions as good as me says:

    The new strain of virus recently discovered is 70% more transmissible than the original novel virus.

    Is there anyone in the medical field who actually have the qualifications to confirm and fact check that the vaccine will be effective against this new strain and more importantly new strains in the future?

    No keyboard warriors and arm chair professors please.

  6. Sea Wood says:

    I’ll buy a vaccine. Grand Cayman here I come…

    Can’t wait!

  7. Anonymous says:

    How are airlines going to run commercial flights with such small numbers of passengers eligible to travel for many months to come? Also who is going to willingly quarantine with their kids for a chunk of their family vacation when other islands don’t require it?

    • Anonymous says:

      Thats why the tourists are going to all the other Caribbean destinations that have had a plan and are open for families.

      This is a no plan plan!

    • Anonymous says:

      Lets face it Cayman Airways is probably losing less money by not flying than it does when it flies.

      And if people want to risk their kids by going to another island so be it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Risk their kids? You do realize that not a single kid has dies from covid 19 who didnt already have a major pre existing condition

  8. Anonymous says:

    Most counties have such a back log for test results it takes up to 5 days to get your result, translated, no one will meet the criteria of pre travel test being done 72 hours in advance and we are back to the quarantine

    • Anonymous says:

      BS. Got an exit PCR test in the BVI in < 3 days, and the test on entry was back within 12 hrs. Now going through the US where you can get same day results.

      • anonymous says:

        I live in Miami and the only test that you can get that is returned that quickly is the rapid test which is not allowed by the CI Government Rules. Only the PCR swab test is allowed. But if you do gain entry to Cayman with the Rapid Test or the PCR test is actually taken and the result returned within 12 hours please let us know in Miami where you went to get this done.

        • Anonymous says:

          Plenty of places in Palm Beach County able to do full PCR tests with next day results. It’s just more expensive.

          • Anonymous says:

            I’ve seen a few ppl posting their tests being done and the nurses barely put a swab up their nose. When I got mine done at HSA, they pushed that thing way up in my brain to read my thoughts. It doesn’t look like they are doing it right or maybe we are doing it wrong here.

        • Anonymous says:

          I live in Ft Lauderdale and can easily get RT – PCR back in 24 hours!

        • Anonymous says:

          You aren’t looking hard enough.

        • Anonymous says:

          I also live in Miami and have had 3 PCR tests free of charge with 24 hour result turnaround. The south dade government center site is an in and out drive through process that is booked online and takes no more than 10 minutes. I’m not sure where you are located, but not everyone is having the same negative experience as you.

          • Anonymous says:

            Be careful!!!That location is a Curative lab site offering oral swab test not the nasal swab PCR required! Already made that mistake today. Must be a nasal swab!!#

          • Anonymous says:

            The tests given at this site and others using the lab in the chain are NOT accepted by CIG. They are oral swab, not PCR nasal swab. Be careful when looking for testing facilities..

      • Anonymous says:

        You cannot get results back in some places in the US under 4-5 days ( usually 5 days)- especially if you need to wait over a weekend.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you really blaming your country’s problems on Cayman?

      • Anonymous says:

        Not blaming any problem on cayman just saying the protocol set by cayman is not possible for their biggest tourist base. Four coworkers got tested on last Friday – still waiting for results. It is currently 4:23 pm. The results are expected sometime today, but they would’ve had to cancel their flight. It is what it is. When people are laying out money for travel- if protocol is not feasible, they will travel where it is. Do you want borders open or not? If so, you need to realize the issues that are happening.

        • Anonymous says:

          Read article in cayman compass “we are hanging on by the skin of our teeth” and then you might want to do whatever is possible to get tourists back in the most reasonable way and that might mean adding an extra day for covid testing. It’s not testing that is an issue, it is getting the results.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Look at big head talkn sa.

  10. Anonymous says:

    One concern is that even though the vaccine should certainly protect those who receive it, Scientists are uncertain at this point regarding those people still being able to be vectors of the virus. More studies need to be done in this regard. I, for one, am looking forward to the chance to get vaccinated.

    • Anonymous says:

      Translated. Take the vaccine, travel and QUARANTINE upon return.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Certainly protect those that receive it”. That just is not true, even the medical profession are saying it does not prevent you getting it. The vaccine only helps your body fight it. It is all over the press that the vaccine is not a wonder cure. There remains the need for lockdowns and social distancing and will be for some time to come since it is not yet known if the vaccine prevents spread. For goodness sake stop spouting nonsense!

      • Anonymous says:

        The perfect vaccine will call you!

      • Anonymous says:

        “The vaccine only helps your body fight it”

        your own words, so “Certainly protect those that receive it” is true

        the vaccine means less hospitalisations are far fewer deaths.

        No-one ever claimed it was a wonder cure or thought it, just you apparently

    • Anonymous says:

      If people want protection, get vaccinated. Vectors become moot. If people don’t want to get vaccinated they shouldn’t expect the rest of the community to suffer with them. They have a choice.

  11. Anonymous says:

    If Alden McLaughlin is involved, I am out. Not my Premier!

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