UK COVID variant confirmed in travellers

| 26/01/2021 | 59 Comments
Cayman News Service
British Airways air-bridge flight

(CNS): A selection of COVID-19 positive samples were sent overseas by Cayman’s Public Health Department for genomic sequencing and three have been identified as the British variant, which confirms that travellers coming into the Cayman Islands have brought the more infectious and possibly more virulent strain of the coronavirus here. The samples were sent just over two weeks ago to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), which confirmed that three were the UK strain B117, but other variants were all ruled out.

The three samples with the British variant came from travellers from the United Kingdom and Barbados, officials stated. “Of these three people positive for SARS-CoV-2, one traveller group has been discharged from quarantine and the other remains in quarantine.”

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee warned people to remain vigilant regarding this virus, while seemingly reassuring the public that safety measures in place are sufficient.

“It is not surprising that we now have confirmation of this variant in the Cayman Islands as we know it to be virulent and widespread,” he said. “Our strict adherence to quarantine protocols in the Cayman Islands is keeping the threat of COVID-19 at bay. I encourage everyone dealing with travellers to remain vigilant and adhere to infection prevention and control strategies at all times.”

Officials said that CARPHA is now able to assist with genomic sequencing for a selection of ten samples per month with high viral loads. Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr Eryka Simmons said this was appreciated and complemented the PCR testing capabilities at the HSA and Doctors Hospital.

The UK variant has caused concern because it appears to be considerably more infectious that the original strain of this coronavirus. On Friday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested it might also be deadlier than other versions of the virus, though public health officials in the UK say conclusions about its virulence are uncertain.

There are now increasing numbers of mutations, with at least four more infectious strains emerging out of Brazil, South Africa, California and the UK. These strains are stoking concerns that as well as being more infections, they could all be more virulent, capable of reinfecting people and even resistant to the vaccine.

But even if they prove to be no more likely to make people ill, the increased infection rates pose their own danger, since the more people who are infected, the more will become sick, increase the pressure on already stretched hospitals in areas where COVID-19 has taken hold..

As countries step up vaccine plans, implement tougher lockdowns and rules, the spread is beginning to slow down in some places. But the imbalance in vaccine distribution and the increase in variants could serve to undermine any progress the world is making on finally getting to grips with this year-long pandemic.

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Comments (59)

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  1. Celt says:

    English Covid Variant Covid is more accurate. It came from Kent.

  2. Anonymous says:

    No reason for the panic people seem to be having over Covid in general but especially over his new strain being in Cayman.

    First and foremost, it is NOT more lethal. Second, everyone has to test before travel now so that’s some EXTRA prevention. Third, everyone still has to quarantine and test again.

    Respect the threat that Covid is but stop freaking out!

  3. Anonymous says:

    They are spending money on everything these foreign nationals desire please protect or Borders!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Our borders need to be protected also everybody is looking at obvious flights but illegals from our neighbors are flowing in and out Cayman at will and Government has no plan to deal with this very serious issue! The amount cases are increasing in those countries now too Come on Alden please get off your arse and put something in place to at least try address this issue the Border is under your ministry is it not?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Dutch media reporting British variant B117 is only 6% more contagious not the 30-70% first reported. Might explain why we haven’t seen huge numbers of people get infected on the journey here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Makes sense. The high infection rates are more easily explained by the Brexit-type English ignoring even basic social distancing regulations. The alleged higher infectivity is a handy excuse by the inept UK government to try and explain away their failed policies after Boris Johnson put pubs before people.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Why people on the photo are wearing space suits?

    • Anonymous says:

      Um, because there is a pandemic and the country that this flight has come from is not covid free…

  7. Heard immunity is a pipe dream says:

    Scientists had predicted that the coronavirus would evolve and might acquire new mutations that would thwart vaccines, but few researchers expected it to happen so soon. Part of the problem is the sheer ubiquity of the pathogen.

    If we haven’t stopped/cured the common cold, how in the hell does anyone expect to achieve herd immunity with a new novel virus that probably evolves faster than the common flu viruses?

    Wishful thinking.

    • Anonymous says:

      I “heard” this too😂

    • Anonymous says:

      Well let’s hope it continues to evolve like the 1918 Spanish Flu, that mutated one too many times and effectively killed itself…

    • Anonymous says:

      Complete rubbish. Mutations are absolutely expected. There are several thousand known variants of sars-cov2. The new variants haven’t evaded vaccines. Educate yourself before posting nonsense.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Please stop the at home quarantine. This will be our downfall.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Great song from Phoenix Nights is appropriate called ‘Send the buggers back’

  10. Anonymous says:

    You mean the Covid virus mutated just like every other flu viruses in the world?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Stop all incoming until they can confirm they have received the vaccine and then quarantine for 14 days, we are setting our selfies up for trouble otherwise.

  12. Anonymous says:

    It is time for mandatory face masks again in public places and offices. Really can’t be too careful here.

    • Positive Banon says:

      Thankfully we have a crack team managing the isolation at home programm.

      I commended everyone involved.

      We have successfully stopped community transmission better than any other country in the world. Maybe CIG is world class.

      Remember we would be killing the Government if we were still wearing masks or locked down. So give credit where credit is due. It might make you feel good.

      • Anonymous says:

        How in the hell does wearing masks kill the Government? What an absurd statement!

        I give you the lockdowns being a “killer” but not masks.

  13. anon says:

    We are supposedly getting one more shipment of vaccines in early February which will cover approx 15,000 people in total. What happens after that?.

  14. Anonymous says:

    “Much more highly contagious”? More like 50% out in the population If it were we’d have dozens more positives getting off every plane after spending 10 hours with them!

  15. nauticalone345 says:

    I agree that our government has done very well so far. I am though concerned about the level of trust for some travelers to quarantine at home – such is a “let’s wait an see” approach. Remember some persons think that Covid is not real, or are willing to gamble that 99% will recover…so what’s the fuss? Also, simply trusting those in private home isolation to stay in place with their electronic monitor, does NOT take in to account anyone else who may visit those in isolation! All should isolate in specific government accommodations, properly monitored by security and police personnel.

    • Anonymous says:

      What happened to the 19 old man that was tested positive that broke the quarantine twice, did he go free or what ?

  16. Elvis says:

    Lol and we are supposed to be surprised at this news.

    The government have been bombarding this virus with invites for months now. Well congratulations muppets they took up your offer now.

    Stand by , here goes .

  17. Anonymous says:


  18. Catcha Fire says:

    If your argument is so reasonable anon 1:36pm. My question is why take or increase the risk of infecting and spreading this Covid 19 virus Why add to infection rate knowing this variant is highly infectious. Why is other countries banning your flights and passengers from their jurisdictions. You people think you can justify everything you do to satisfy your own personal desires and agenda.As soon you all get call on these unreasonable decisions you then start with your nasty threats and comments.Putting the onus and diverting the blame on taxi drivers! really?? The fact is your argument is bunch of Bull$#@! Stay Your A$$ Home stop spreading this deadly virus around the world!

  19. Anonymous says:

    real question is:
    are these people in government quarantine or home quarantine?

  20. Caymanian says:

    Keep bringing them in Let’s see what’s going to happen….

    • Anonymous says:

      It really doesn’t matter if you are related to the right people. You can go to Government Quarantine escape twice then be sent home to finish quarantine. If this individual escaped Government quarantine twice i doubt they stayed home.

      It amazes me there has been nothing on the news as whom this individual was. This makes me doubt any actions were taken on this individual for discipline. Obviously they didn’t go to a Jet ski race or they would have received 30 days in jail.

      • anon says:

        4.45pnm What about the other 4 cases still under indefinite “investigation”. Could all these involve non expats?.

    • Roni says:

      That’s a very positive hopeful article. Thanks for sharing, I feel even better that we will be protected by the vaccine, elven if we must get a booster in 1year, that’s a minor requirement. ❤️

  21. Anonymous says:

    There is also another variant recently discovered in the US spreading like wild fire through California.

    Let’s see if we can catch them all like pokemon because opening our borders to the populace during a global pandemic seems like the only move our government can muster.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Not a surprise that the UK variant would show up in travelers from the UK coming in on British Airways!

    Keep the quarantine plan going. Other countries are now imposing quarantines, including the UK and the US.

  23. Anonymous says:

    This is the least surprising news of the year. COVID and all its variants are rampant worldwide so anyone who thought these variants wouldn’t be imported are missing some brain cells.

    Our quarantine process has worked exceptionally well to date, however, given the new variants are much more highly contagious (although not determined to be any more severe), our front line workers need to be extra vigilant to protect themselves and the community. We’ve all heard stories of unmasked taxi drivers taking people from the airport to their quarantine location, gathering all travelers to be tested at the end of their quarantine period in one location to administer that testing, etc).

    Look what happened recently in New Zealand. Can’t let our guard down.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Much more highly contagious”? More like 50% out in the population If it were we’d have dozens more positives getting off every plane after spending 10 hours with them!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Stop endangering the lives of Caymanians Martyn Roper !As for you Alden everybody know exactly what you are?

  25. Anonymous says:

    well done cig…100% responsible for bringing all cases of covid to cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      To be fair we are in better circumstances than most countries. Our Government sucks at times but at least we have not had to endure a 2nd lockdown.

      • Anonymous says:

        We are already isolated from the world. Is it really a good job? Or is it just something expected from our government?

      • Anonymous says:

        Might have to eat those words by year end but I hope not. And if it comes hopefully everyone will comply to the fullest and not endanger others. All we need now is for some imbeciles to prance around after getting 2 jabs and potentially spread it amongst the unprotected.

      • Anonymous says:


    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      What, in your estimation, should CIG be doing differently, and why?

      I have a lot of problems with our government, but they have been stellar in proactive protection of our citizens and residents.

      • Anonymous says:

        stop the home quarantine nonsense…where visitors can come and go because there is no monitoring visitors!

    • Anonymous says:

      You plonker. Really, 100% responsible? fool

    • Anonymous says:

      Indeed well done CIG. No community transmission.

      • Anonymous says:

        At least none we were told about. GIG does not have a track record of being honest and transparent with the people now do they?

      • anon says:

        3.24pm If all our original community cases were asymptomatic, and nearly all of our “non special category” residents have never been tested, how do we know there has since been no community transmission. There’s probably hundreds if not thousands out there who have it but don’t know it.

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