Traveller turned away over expired COVID test

| 18/01/2021 | 33 Comments

(CNS): One person was denied boarding for a British Airways flight to the Cayman Islands on Thursday, the first day of the new requirement that all passengers heading here have a negative COVID-19 test that is less than 72 hours old and from an accredited laboratory. Officials said that over 200 passengers travelling to Cayman on 14 January on two flights, the BA flight from London and a Cayman Airways flight from Honduras, followed the new rules.

The introduction of the pre-arrival test as a pre-screening method is another layer of protection. However, since people can still become infected right after taking a test, additional measures remain in place. This was demonstrated when six people arriving in Cayman Thursday tested positive for the coronavirus.

Passengers will still be given a PCR test at the airport and required to quarantine for 14 days. People will only be released from isolation following a negative test, which is still being administered on day 15 after arrival and not from the pre-travel PCR test. For now, even those who have received the COVID-19 vaccination will still be required to quarantine.

Cayman Islands representatives from the London Office (CIGOUK) were on hand at London Heathrow Airport to provide assistance and support to travellers. Just one person was denied boarding because their test was older than the required 72 hours.

Dr Tasha Ebanks-Garcia, the director of Travel Cayman, said the local team was grateful for the support from airlines and the UK team.

“As this is a new provision we felt it important to have help at hand from CIGOUK and Cayman Airways staff, providing on the spot advice,” she said. “Unfortunately, one person was turned away as their test results did not meet Government requirements. We urge the public to ensure their results meet all the criteria, including the type of test mandated, and that the sample is taken no more than 72 hours before the flight departure.”

Travellers need to present a test from an upper airways swab taken no more than 72 hours prior to flight departure from an accredited laboratory. Lateral flow, rapid antigen or antibody tests will not be accepted. While a paper copy of the test result is recommended, officials said electronic copies are also being accepted.

The UK has now closed its corridors with other countries that had enabled people to travel between here and London without having to isolate. However, the British Airways fortnightly service is continuing, and government has confirmed that two BA repatriation flights between the UK and Grand Cayman have been approved for 11 and 25 February.

However those travelling from here will now need to also provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test and go into self quarantine in the UK for ten days.

Meanwhile, from 26 January the US will also require travellers including US citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 viral test or recovery from COVID-19. Passengers two years and older must provide either a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel or provide a positive test result and documentation from a licensed healthcare provider or public health official of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel.

Anyone with travel questions should contact the Travel Cayman team via email TravelCayman@gov.ky
or call 1-345-945-0556 / 1-345-946-7858
Phone lines are open Monday through Friday 8.30am to 5pm.

Breach Tips Hotline: 943-7233 (943 SAFE)

HSA Flu Hotline: 1-800-534-8600 or 925-6327 or flu@hsa.ky

See the consent form and the Vaccination Plan Brochure in the CNS Library here.

For more details on the vaccination programme and the vaccination schedule, visit the HSA website here. And for testing to accommodate new international requirements, see here.

For more information on COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands, visit the CIG site here.


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Comments (33)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    HSA, some of us like students and people who work abroad need the vaccine too. Isn’t there a way to give it to people arriving at the airport, if they want it?

    • Anonymous says:

      People who are vulnerable have still not received it in Cayman yet and very fortunate to be receiving it free from UK. Lots would like to travel but are not doing so. Students and other workers in most countries are not receiving vaccine yet, what makes you entitled or just selfish?

    • Anonymous says:

      Lucky for those that have a job and are workibg!

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps refer to the world guidelines issued!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, some of us are only here for a limited time period before having to go back to school or work.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, everyone needs the vaccine, but does the country need you to have it? The question sounds mean, and I apologise, but that is the hard question when there are limited supplies of the vaccine available for the immediate future.

      – Older / Higher Risk people? Easy to justify. If you say ‘no’ to them you’re a monster.
      – Staff dealing with incoming travellers? Vaccinate them fast or you do not reduce your risk of having to find more people to do a job that started making people sick.
      – Medical staff? Who will take care of you if you do get sick?
      – Front Line / Essential Services? – Ah yup. If community transmission occurs who do we, by definition, need to keep as healthy & productive as possible?
      – Their families – The doctor and the garbage collector and the grocery store clerk can’t go to work if their family are home sick needing them to stay home and look after them. (Leaving aside possibility of inoculated people still spreading COVID, at least the time they are off work should be reduced.) So immunise nurses first.
      – Overseas students? Don’t travel. (Actually, self-isolate and do online classes as much as possible.)
      – Travelling Workers? – Your remittances (employment) are less critical to Cayman than the other categories of workers above.

      Sorry, all of us non-essential workers & learners will get our shots when we all get our shots, i.e., when the vaccine is no longer scarce.

      Bonus question from the WHO: who is more important, a doctor in a poor country unable to afford vaccines or a non-essential worker in a rich country able to afford excess vaccines? – It might be that us ‘normal’ people in Cayman have to wait a bit longer than we would like while vaccines are distributed on a priority basis around the world.

      (Don’t worry that won’t happen as its too logistically difficult. But relative to population size could be managed and may be morally fair.)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Do we have a definite date when we can fly to Cayman with just a negative test and vaccine and NOT have to quarantine?

    • Anonymous says:

      Not this year.

    • Anonymous says:

      No. In theory it’s based on herd immunity – so 80% plus vaccination of the local population. At current rates of vaccine supply March looks unlikely.

    • Anonymous says:

      When it is no longer possible to buy negative test results and when a piece of paper that says someone has been vaccinated has been proven to prevent transmission.

    • Anonymous says:

      It will not happen. It cannot. 6 people who tested negative on departure have tested positive on arrival. That seems to be on a single flight. Were they not in quarantine, Covid would have been reintroduced to Cayman. Wake up and understand the science. You want to come? You will be welcomed, but through quarantine.

    • Anonymous says:

      An optimistic projection on both of those questions may be a year from now or beyond, going by other countries long range plans.

    • Anonymous says:

      never, since not everybody will take the shot 😀

    • anon says:

      7.31pm No.

  3. Anonymous says:

    No idea why anyone down voted your comment. Our experience of travel time has been the same. Public health too when one of us tested positive back before summer. Credit where credit’s due CIG, surprisingly, have done an amazing job.

  4. Anonymous says:

    1:57 you are so correct. I had the same experience.

    Don’t worry about the thumbdowns to positive comments. I know it’s sad when good news is greeted that way.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Wondering if the positives were on the BA or CAL flight or both? I was on one of those and would be good to know.

    • Anonymous says:

      Assuming you are in quarantine, why should it matter?
      If you wore your face covering as required on the flight, why should it matter?

      • Anonymous says:

        Because the face covering limits – but doesnot eliminate – the chances of YOU giving someone else the virus. Limited use in stopping you getting it. So if I was on a flight with known infected people I would quite like to know, too. Hell, if you were in a restaurant in the BVI with some other guest not even at your table who proved posits public health would contact you and telll you you were at risk. Here – hell no. No one wants to undermine confidence in the flight system. Understand that if you are in quarantine anyway public health risk is limited – but reasonable to tell people about the risks to their health.

  6. Anonymous says:

    so no quarantine required after 31 march? for those coming here…?

  7. Anonymous says:

    You don’t have to do 10 Days isolation in the UK.
    Take the 5 Day test and release option.

    We should have the same here seems as the vaccine does not help us avoid isolation.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is that why the UK is a 5hitshow then?

      • St George says:

        6.18pm You would be singing for your vaccine if it wasn’t for the 5hitshow, who by the way has issued manyof you with a full British passport.

      • Anonymous says:

        6.18pm Perhaps you should watch UK’s Clive Myrie’s reports and show some sensitivity and respect to all the health staff, carers, patients, families before making such a disgusting comment. They did not create the virus! Others that are complaining should find something better to do and be thankful.

  8. Anonymous says:

    PCR tests within 72 hours are supposed to let in less than 25% of infected people who would otherwise fly. If that is the case and 6 positives were detected at the airport, then either the test results were worthless or a large number of otherwise infected people were kept off the flights.

    Are we collecting data on the number of people changing their flights prior to departure. If no one is changing after getting test results and we are still detecting high numbers on arrival then the test results may have very limited value.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I am glad that they are checking at airports although I am concerned by the ease with which people can get fake test results.

    Today Australia reported that they don’t think that things will be anywhere near normal until the end of 2021

    Australia’s Health Department Secretary Professor Brendan Murphy said it is likely tight border restrictions will be in place for most of this year.

    Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Monday, Murphy said, “I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions — even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus. And it’s likely that quarantine will continue for some time.”

  10. AF says:

    Another world class performance by our Travel Cayman team.

    I have been thought the quarantine at residence twice as I had two medical appointments overseas.

    The responsiveness, professionalism and friendly service must be commended.

    Thank God I live in Cayman.

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