Rules change, pre-arrival negative test needed

| 07/01/2021 | 100 Comments

(CNS): From 14 January, all returning residents and other categories of travellers over the age of ten who are allowed to enter the Cayman Islands under the current rules must have had a negative COVID-19 test. Evidence of a negative PCR test from an accredited laboratory taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure will be needed from next week in order to board a flight to this jurisdiction.

Premier Alden McLaughlin made the announcement at Thursday’s press briefing on the national vaccine roll-out. More specific details will be released over the coming days but McLaughlin said he wanted to give people as much notice as possible, given that the requirement was coming into effect next week.

The premier stated that from next Thursday, airlines will be checking passengers’ documentation and will deny boarding to anyone without proof of a negative test. Customs and Border Control (CBC) will also require this document.

It has long been a question in the community why the Cayman authorities have not required a negative test prior to entry. Government has previously dismissed the need for a pre-entry test, given that every person must quarantine regardless and the ease with which people can still pick up the virus in the days after the test, especially in airports and on board planes.

There were also concerns about students returning home from school and university if they tested positive and were unable to come home but had nowhere to go in the country where they had been studying.

However, when the border restrictions and quarantine restrictions are eased, a pre-arrival negative test will be required in conjunction with a full course vaccine. So, as the vaccine programme is rolled out, government has brought the requirement forward.

An added factor is the spread of the two more infectious coronavirus variants that are now spreading rapidly around the world. Cayman has begun sending samples from recently arrived travellers to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad after the laboratories there began offering a service this month to detect the different mutations of the virus.

However, CNS understands that the health authorities are looking into the possibility of Cayman securing its own lab equipment to enable health professionals here to detect not just the coronavirus mutations but various other viruses as well, reducing the need to send test samples overseas in the future to test for potential virus outbreaks, both new and old.


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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (100)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    No point risking a vaccine then.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The 90 minute Covid test that is offered at Heathrow is a LAMP test which is not identical to the testing we do in Cayman but it has an accuracy of 95% and the advantage that it identifies a persons status on the day of departure rather than several days before. Will the new regulations allow for that test??

    • Anonymous says:

      No

      • Anonymous says:

        Miami travelers be careful. The Covid test CIG requires must be a nasal swab PCR not oral swab or rapid or antigen. Not easily available and costs $150 to $200 for results by 72 hours.

        • Anonymous says:

          No. Walk up nasal swap at the South Beach convention centre. Free. Results in 48 hrs.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Requiring testing before getting onto planes flying to Cayman is the best decision since closing the borders.

    • Anonymous says:

      72 hours is not feasible in some places in US to get test results back. If you are traveling on a Monday, you will never get results over a weekend. The window needs to be extended at least 1 more day- 5 days would be better. Cayman still making it near impossible due to protocol.

      • Anonymous says:

        Okay, better settle-in and enjoy the thrills of U-S-of-A! Lucky for you, MAGA hats being offered on clearance!

        • Anonymous says:

          We can travel elsewhere. Cayman is not our only option. If protocols are not attainable, that is what people will do.

      • Anonymous says:

        Good point, but it probably just means you can’t plan to travel on a Monday.

        • Anonymous says:

          To Cayman, one where test results are slow, they will not be able to travel Saturday, Sunday or Mondays. Geez, most people probably travel over the weekend.
          Re: other locations, they have a 4-5 day window of test results so it is more feasible to go to those locations.

  4. Anonymous says:

    When will CIG Gazette this new regulation requiring pre-covid testing? CIG should follow the law of the land.

    I would appear to be illegal for CIG to enforce this…without Gazetting the new regulation.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well its about bloody time! Can’t fathom why CIG put us all at risk by importing plane loads of infected visitors at the get go? Why do we always have to be the last ones in the world to do the right thing?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Never been tested and will never be vaccinated. My body, my choice.

    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely it is your choice but how does it feel bent over like that with all that sand around your head?

    • Anonymous says:

      Fair enough, but you should probably avoid spreading your nasty COVID self in the general public so don’t go to the hospital, grocery store, gym, church, the library, a school, or my house.

      • Anonymous says:

        Fine by me. How pathetic to just assume someone is infected. I would say you are the one infected… with fear.

    • Anonymous says:

      Also, never to fly or travel again .

  7. Anonymous says:

    From CNN this afternoon: FDA says New Covid variants can cause false negative tests based testing kits made by specific manufacturers – another good reason for retaining quarantine

    The US Food and Drug Administration has alerted health care providers and labs that genetic variants of the novel coronavirus — including an emerging variant first detected in the United Kingdom called B.1.1.7 — could lead to false negative Covid-19 test results.

    The FDA noted in a news release on Friday afternoon that false negative results can occur with any molecular test for the detection of the virus if a mutation has occurred in the part of the virus’s genome that the test examines. According to the FDA, the risk that these mutations will impact overall testing accuracy is low. If Covid-19 is suspected after a negative test, the agency recommends repeat testing with a different test.

    The agency notes three Covid-19 tests authorized in the United States may be impacted by genetic variants — MesaBiotech Accula, TaqPath Covid-19 Combo Kit and Linea Covid-19 Assay Kit — “but the impact does not appear to be significant.”

  8. Anonymous says:

    CNS, thanks for asking great questions at the press briefing….as you always do!

  9. Nat says:

    In most places it is close to impossible to get results under 3 days. Which means people will be going to multiple labs, and getting higher chance to get infected over the last 3 days before the departure.

  10. Anonymous says:

    96 hours is feasible pre departure is the standard in many countries. Hope CIG will consider 96 hours.. This would especially help Caymanians undergoing medical procedures etc

    • Anonymous says:

      Most Caribbean countries have been requiring these 72-hr tests for a while and people are getting it done and traveling. Totally doable.

      • Anonymous says:

        Try connecting from Hong Kong. A number of Caymanian financial services firms have Caymanians employed there.

  11. Anonymous says:

    So I’m scheduled for 15 January. And how easy do you think it is to be guaranteed test results within 72 hours ??? Impossible and now I’ve jumped through so many hoops to get there. I’m deflated. Give us a few more days. Really ?? And even with a 14 day plus quarantine???!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Go online and get a test. It’s easy to buy

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you in the UK or US? It’s readily available around me in the US.

      • Brian Patterson says:

        I am in New Hampshire now, returning via MIA on Jan 15. PCR tests are available here for non-US persons if you hunt around, but difficult to arrange in advance on a specific date in a specific place. Having the results in hand in 72 hours is practically impossible. I hope to be tested on Jan 12. I may not have the result in hand for my boarding in MIA…there could be chaos at check-in!

        • Anonymous says:

          If no 72hr negative test result, then no check-in. That’s a pretty straightforward and widespread travel protocol to understand. If you are already contemplating the stirring-up of abuse of our CAL airport staff on your own possible non-compliance, then don’t fly during a global contagion.

    • Anonymous says:

      I understand your frustration but no one can really be surprised by this. Most countries have banned travel from the UK, given the new, highly transmittable variant. While Cayman has the 14-day mandatory quarantine, we also need to be vigilant in protecting our front-line workers (airport personnel, taxi drivers, etc) as well as protecting all passengers on a plane.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you are in the UK 90 minute testing is available at Heathrow – you can book it online.

      • Anonymous says:

        That may or may not need the requirements. There are specific labs that the tests must be from and you’d need to confirm that ahead of time or results won’t be accepted by CIG.

  12. Anonymous says:

    With the new UK rules also requiring preflight testing will people flying from Cayman which has no community spread be required to get tested here before flying to the UK?

    CNS Note: Yes. Its just been confirmed we will post that shortly.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It was announced today that the UK is bringing in the same sort of test before boarding requirement next week as well.

  14. El Cid says:

    Wow our political dingbats finally get it ! But not before they have put us a such a serious or higher risk than was necessary just because of misguided loyalty to the mother country who is now witnessing and unprecedented state of emergency because of these mutated strains of this terrible virus. We are now all forced to take this vaccine wether we like it or not!

    • Anonymous says:

      The lack of any community transmission or ballooning cases at the end of quarantine is evidence that the risk is not nearly as great as you’re flapping about. Turns out public health professionals know more than you.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m tired of hearing about the 🇬🇧. Can’t wait till we don’t hear about them when Alden quits when can’t we snuggle up with Canada., that’s a nice place

    • Anonymous says:

      No one is forced to get the vaccine. It is highly encouraged by government but not required.

  15. Anonymous says:

    However, when the border restrictions and quarantine restrictions are eased, a pre-arrival negative test will be required in conjunction with a full course vaccine. So, as the vaccine programme is rolled out, government has brought the requirement forward.

    so Caymanian’s that are coming home and do not wish to have a vaccine will be banned from entering ??????

    • Anonymous says:

      No, but non-vaccinated people would need to quarantine as at present.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why not!
      Other countries do it for yellow fever etc.
      What makes you so special?

    • Anonymous says:

      No. You can still test before flight, test on arrival and quarantine. They have said a gazillion times that vaccines are NOT mandatory!

    • Anonymous says:

      They can still return but will need to quarantine.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s about looking out for the greater good of the community. This idea of “do not wish” is a luxury not available during a pandemic.

    • Realist says:

      People under 16 and 18 depending on whether it is Moderna or Pfizer can’t get the vaccine. It is not authorized for that age group. So, I’m missing the point of mandatory vaccine status. If you go to Moderna’s website, they very clearly state “ there is no FDA approved vaccine to prevent Covid 19”. These vaccines are authorized, not approved. Big difference. Go ahead, check it for yourself. If a family of 4 visits, parent must be vaccinated but their teens don’t?

      • Anonymous says:

        Per these rules, any family with kids under 16 will need to quarantine even if the parents have been vaccinated. This won’t make travel significantly (or even at all) more straightforward for families (visitors or Caymanians/residents), but it is what it is. Hopefully a vaccine is on the horizon for kids – maybe later in the year.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Yes our leaders finally GET IT but only after certain people make into Cayman! Those who put us at unnecessary risk need to be held accountable! friggin selfish idiots!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Very welcome news. Testing before departure was something that we definitely need for the foreseeable future.

    I see today that the UK is going to require negative tests before boarding from next week as well and so is Australia and so is New York for international travelers. I suspect that most countries will require negative tests in the near future

  18. Regina Ecclefield says:

    I totally understand that among other reasons they did not want to leave kids stranded over the holidays when the schools actually shit down. Glad that they are doing it now. Many destinations have the regulation in place and thousands of people manage to arrange to get the test done within the 72 hours. I really don’t understand why people are so negative. With proper planning and timing this all works. If you are not on top of things, it does not. For those who say it should have already been in place, how would you feel if your 16 year old was stuck in a foreign country for several weeks with no family and no where to go, but had the very reasonable option of coming home and quarantining for two weeks. I will bet there would have been plenty naysayers to that scenario. They are doing an excellent job in a very unique situation and showing the flexibility to evolve as the fluidity of the situation requires.

    • Richard says:

      easy to get tested within 72 hours, almost everywhere it’s impossible to get guaranteed results in that timeframe. Also for many, it requires 2 days of travel to get here having to overnight in either Miami or London.

      • Anonymous says:

        Agree. Transit via London is not virtually impossible if you originate travel from Asia.

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      Perfectly said. Medical and emergency travel aside, most people that need to be here are here, and provisions remain for us to come and go, should it be necessary.

      I think CIG has done an outstanding job of wrangling/managing this constantly evolving pandemic landscape.

  19. Anonymous says:

    So you can still catch it at the airport and on the plane mixing with thousands of people and spread it all over the COVID free Cayman.

    Sounds like another genius plan

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes , you right , we should do nothing & keep Cayman closed forever. Your genius plan?

    • Anonymous says:

      Still need to do the quarantine – do try reading

    • Anonymous says:

      If everyone on the plane has tested negative, it GREATLY reduces the odds of catching it on the plane. As it is now, people are testing positive on arrival and that means they’ve exposed passengers/airport staff/etc. This will cut down on that possibility.

    • Anonymous says:

      They will still quarantine. It just mitigates some of the risk.

    • Anonymous says:

      So, your thought process here is that because we can’t 100% guarantee someone won’t contract COVID during the time between they take their test and arrive on island to quarantine that we should do nothing to mitigate the number of cases we’re flying in???

  20. Anonymous says:

    About damn time

  21. Anonymous says:

    Start your morning off with a chuckle. Read all 4 posts through January 7.

    https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g147364-i260-k13455935-We_made_it_back_to_Cayman-Cayman_Islands.html

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      Thank you for that! Those folks seem to be ones that belong here, as they are willing to undergo the process faithfully, even though there were little problems or glitches.

      That is a frank and humourous look at the quarantine/geofencing process.

  22. Anonymous says:

    So I can have a test done here, hop up to Miami for some shopping and strip clubs, then come back home with no issue? Awesome.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good point. Hopefully the small print in the rules will specify that the test has to be done in the country from which the flight departs, otherwise quick trips to Miami, Jamaica, and elsewhere will result in a massive importation of the virus. Let’s see if CIG gets that.

      • Anonymous says:

        And then what if you are flying to Cayman from (say) Asia, with an overnight stops in (say) London?

        • Anonymous says:

          This is now my current situation. I overnight in Miami on a monday at 4:00pm and my flight is supposed to return to cayman on a Tuesday. Realistically not sure how am I supposed to get a PCR covid test in time…

    • Anonymous says:

      You still have to quarantine unless you are vaccinated….

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, you can. But you still have to quarantine for 14-days upon your return and then test negative after that quarantine.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Long overdue

  24. Anonymous says:

    “More specific details will be released over the coming days”?

    If the start date is 14 Jan…all details should today….the 72 hr clock starts on Monday 11 Jan.

  25. Anonymous says:

    This not suffficient notice.. for next week Thursday BA departure. Especially those who need to transit from Europe to catch the BA flight to Cayman are now caught by this. CIG should at least give 2 weeks notice.

    Also Cayman Islands Citizen who have a right to land and remain in the Cayman Islands are being prejudiced by denying them landing rights.

    • Anonymous says:

      Public health restrictions prevail in the current context. No one has an unconditional right to potentially bring an infectious disease onto a common carrier on an international route. Understand the law before you comment.

    • Cayman Trigger Fish says:

      Mann try hush wid your foolishness ! landing rights watch u talking bout Willis! Trying to stop you from bring some variant strain to our shores to infect your own people is not prejudice dummy it’s good common sense ! Stay inna yah yard Star!

    • Anonymous says:

      Wont you have to get a test to enter UK from Europe?

  26. Anonymous says:

    Why do you need a negative PCR test if you get the full course of vaccines?

    • Anonymous says:

      Because the vaccine doesnt stop you catching or spreading the virus. Youre way behind….keep up the reading!

  27. Anonymous says:

    CNS Do you know if it is 72 hours before the flight departs (say from London/Miami)? Or is it 72 hours before the flight arrives in Grand Cayman?

    CNS: I’m sure this will be made clear when they issue the details in the coming days.

  28. Anonymous says:

    should have been done a long time ago. end of story.
    shame on those who actively let covid positive people come to the islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      It made no difference whatsoever. We have no community cases! But then again, that’s just a fact in a new world of ifs and buts.

      • Anonymous says:

        It COULD have made a difference but thankfully didn’t. All passengers quarantine but airport staff are out amongst the members of the community and they would be an easy way to spread it.

  29. Anonymous says:

    OK, but in Florida as little as 6 weeks ago, it was not possible to get negative test results in that kind of timeframe. I was told: “Honey, we are too busy to tell you if your result is negative. We will let you know if you are positive. If we do not contact you within 48 hours, assume you are OK.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry, that sounds like your country’s capacity for testing problem, not mine. We are not the only place to require pre-neg testing and should’ve been from the get-go.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is going to be a nightmare for those of us who must travel for medical treatment to Miami for this reason.

    • anonymous says:

      There are Caymanians like myself who are undergoing cancer treatments in Miami and have travelled back and forth a number of times with quarantining. This 72 hour rule for those who are in the U.S. for medical reasons will technically never be able to get back because of the 72 hour rule. Testing is done for those showing symptoms and even then the results are longer than 72 hours. I had to have cancer related surgery and had to be tested but that took almost 5 days. Perhaps in these circumstances Cayman could have someone administer the swab test in Miami and then sent to Cayman for the result which could take less than 72 hours and perhaps notify the person in Miami.

      • Anonymous says:

        I love it. With daily CAL flights we could set up a COVID testing company. Now all we need is an American to front for us with the IRS. 🙂

        • anonymous says:

          An American green card holder. I am up for trying to figure out how to set something up in Miami. Reach out to me.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m very sorry about your situation – and I am sure the logistics of arranging this during a trip for medical treatment is the last thing you need – but there are plenty of places in Florida which provide expedited PCR testing, albeit at a higher price.

  30. Anonymous says:

    maybe he was reading CNS comments and made his decision – FINALLY

  31. Anonymous says:

    Good! It should have been that way in the first place.

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