Reopening spells return of masks, social distancing

| 30/08/2021 | 290 Comments
Cayman News Service
An officer hands out a reusable cloth mask at a local supermarket in May 2020

(CNS): When the Cayman Islands’ borders reopen to vaccinated visitors who will not be required to isolate, residents can expect to see a return of mask mandates, social distancing protocols and a reduction in the permitted size of groups both inside and outside. Government ministers have said that as the risk of community transmission of the coronavirus increases in October when the current quarantine restrictions begin to be lifted for travellers, the relaxed virus protocols will likely be tightened up again.

The return of more frequent virus testing and tried and tested protections will be used to boost the community protection from the vaccine if Cayman can exceed a national immunization rate of over 80% and as much as possible reduce the risk of serious illness or possible deaths.

Speaking at Wednesday’s press briefing, Premier Wayne Panton, Health Minister Sabrina Turner and Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan all pointed to the likelihood of a reduction of permitted numbers in group gatherings and possible mask mandates after 14 October, given the concerns over how contagious the Delta variant is and the risks posed by this latest mutation. The premier stressed that COVID is real and it is coming.

“We know we are taking risks with the opening of our borders,” Panton warned. “Government continues to make decisions based on the best available information and scientific evidence and advice, but we are also cognizant that we simply cannot afford to keep our borders closed indefinitely. Like so many things in life, we are trying to strike the right balance, being aware of the risks that we are taking with the decisions that we are making, but also making sure that we are doing everything we can to limit and mitigate those risks and their potential impacts.”

Noting that the vaccine is the best possible protection, he added, “When we open our borders we have to understand that community transmission of COVID, which we have been able to successfully limit with the measures we’ve had in place, will be inevitable.”

But even if the vaccine rate increases, the Delta variant can infect those who are fully vaccinated who are able to spread the virus. Given the risk from this variant, the need for stringent anti-COVID health and safety protocols will return.

Panton said that the opening plan calls for the consideration of social distancing and mask mandates. He said it was very likely that there will be new mandates and a decision about masks and social distancing will be made by government ahead of 14 October, when the quarantine requirements will be lifted. All of the government ministers said that social gathering numbers will also almost certainly be decreased.

“When we go towards increasing the risk of COVID spread, we are going to be reducing the numbers,” Minister Bryan said. The health minister said the allowable size of groups would definitely go down in the first part of the opening plan but she said the details would be based on advice given by public health officials.

At the moment people can gather in groups of up to 1,000 outside and 500 inside, and no one is required to wear a mask except at healthcare facilities. However, in October the public might be required to wear masks in all public indoor places, such as supermarkets. Restaurants may be required to move tables further apart indoors or be restricted to outdoor service only.

The premier has also said that government supports private sector businesses requiring people to be vaccinated in their efforts to keep their staff and customers safe.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez said that testing will be increased at that point and all front-line workers and healthcare workers will be tested on a regular basis. He said he was expecting cases of community transmission but the Health Services Authority is prepared for that. However, they hope the vaccine and protocols will prevent any major surges.

Panton has said that government will reassess a possible return to a lockdown if there are outbreaks that require people to be hospitalised and will be monitoring the impact of the community spread on the hospital.

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Category: Health, Medical

Comments (290)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I know that the lunatic fringe thinks that the US Food and Drug Administration has been taken over by aliens but for the rest of us a useful news item:

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been forced to issue a warning against using a drug called ivermectin to treat coronavirus after several people ended up in hospital.

    Ivermectin is a drug used on horses to prevent them from getting any parasites.

    But the FDA claims it has “received multiple reports of patients who required medical support and been hospitalised after self-medicating with ivermectin”.

    “There seems to be a growing interest in a drug called ivermectin to treat humans with COVID-19,” it wrote.

    “Using any treatment for COVID-19 not approved or authorised by the FDA, unless part of a clinical trial, can cause serious harm.

    “Never use medications intended for animals on yourself. Ivermectin preparations for animals are very different from those approved for humans.”

    US epidemiologist Dr Eric Feigl-Ding tweeted to say: “Don’t do horse deworming meds. That is all.”

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s useful if you are a complete dotard. Most sensible people wouldn’t take a horse de-wormer for a virus.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please look. It has been used for humans for decades. Many drugs are used in both humans and animals.

        CNS: Yes, but it is anti-parasitic drug mostly used for horses and cows. (Do not use any drug developed for animals. Ivermectin can be dangerous in large doses.) It has been found effective for humans against some parasites but has not been proved effective against covid. There are ongoing studies and some indicate that it might be effective if people have the virus and have symptoms. In contrast, the vaccine has been found to be extremely effective in stopping symptoms or at least preventing serious ones.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Reopening the country now is a retarded idea. There is no need for it at this time…the risks are simply too high and all the great work and effort to protect citizens and residents will be wasted.
    The country’s finances continue to be strong, there is absolutely no need for reopening now. Wayne and the PACT government are bowing to the pressure of a very small minority. Bad move guys.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Iceland has a higher vaccination rate than we do and they also thought that they could open to vaccinated travelers without quarantine. Now they have had 3 deaths and many hospitalizations in the past few days are going back into lockdown. If we open to travel without quarantine in October, that is what will happen to us by November.

  4. Anonymous says:

    In the midst of this discussion of Covid coming in October, there are still no confirmed flights for anyone anyway – tourists or residents. We can’t yet meet the needs of travel for residents, let alone tourists.

    Covid is not our ONLY risk. We should have the choice to leave island in the face of a hurricane. We should be able to travel more easily for medical and other needs.

    Regardless of whatever quarantine period is finalized in October, please please please increase flights now.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fewer flights keeps the prices high. Just another cartel like the taxis and buses.

      • Anonymous says:

        Its really ridiculous that we have to pay $731 for a RT fare for Miami and as far as I’m concerned its just a racket going on and afew profiteering from it

  5. Anonymous says:

    It is being reported this morning that the UK will soon introduce vaccine passports for indoor venues like clubs. We ought to do the same ASAP.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “Children are now being hospitalized in record numbers across the United States, and doctors are warning that it could get worse as schools begin to reopen and the swift-moving coronavirus delta variant drives cases higher.

    New Covid hospital admissions for kids have reached their highest levels since the U.S. started tracking pediatric cases about a year ago, peaking at an average of 303 new admissions per day over the week ended Aug. 22, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Which raises the question, if you would have behaved like Sweden in the first place when the virus was not dangerous to young people they would have natural, long lasting antibodies already. All you actually needed to do was keep the vulnerable at home and everyone else could have built up the real herd immunity. It’s not rocket science, it’s how we’ve done this for generations before big pharma sponsored govt decisions.

    • Anonymous says:

      Also from this article, “Kids still account for a very small number of hospitalizations, doctors note, making up roughly 1.8% of all Covid hospitalizations in the U.S.”

      This means that if 100 people were hospitalized in Cayman, 1.8 of them would be kids. This is worrying, but equally worrying is the other 98.2 people.

      Also, “…vaccinations remain the best strategy for protecting kids” and “Yes, it’s true we don’t have a vaccine yet for children less than 12, but we do have one for the 12 -to 17-year-olds and there’s only about a 30% uptake,” he said.

      Being a parent means facing a huge number of worries and risks. We still let our kids ride in cars despite the risk of car accidents. Yes, hospitalizations are increasing for kids, but they are increasing up to 1.8% of the total. I’m not pointing this out to challenge your post, but I feel the article headline was misleading.

      I share your concern for children and child-focused approach. The government has said we should expect Covid in October. Have teachers been taught how to teach letter sounds to young children while wearing masks? Have all teachers been given all of the tools, tips, and PPE they need to teach and protect our children?

      I would like to hear government speak to the plan for our children and discuss how children are included in this reopening plan. As they have not been mentioned, I fear they have not been considered.

    • Anonymous says:

      Almost all of the people sick with covid are unvaccinated. If people get vaccinated and practice safe protocol we will all be fine. Simple as that

      • Wrong!! You can still catch and spread it. Also the latest news is that it only helps for 6 months. Then it wears off , starting to see the light , probably be a while after reading your comment.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Good NY Times report on what the Delta variant is doing to children in the US – hopefully our decision makers are looking at this type of information.

  8. Anonymous says:

    @10:06 pm.

    And we the vaccine choice minority, are not going to tolerate anymore government oppression.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Just for a moment stop and take a step back and a look around the world at what is happening in relation to coronavirus and how its being handled.

    A high level observation shows us that – Israel have told everyone that if you ONLY have been double vaccinated, you’re not vaccinated anymore and you need a 3rd shot. Why? Because the vaccines were created to handle the original strain of coronavirus. Delta laughs at the vaccines.

    What are they doing? They’re injecting more of the same.

    its completely futile. If you follow the logic, the vaccines that we are all taking are effectively redundant at this stage – the original strain is gone. Over. Left the building. We are not vaccinated ourselves against anything.

    We have Denmark now announcing an end of dealing with Coronavirus as a threat of any real concern bar an endemic disease – all restrictions to be removed mid September. Same is happening elsewhere.

    The CDC/Dr Fauci tell us that the vaccinated spread and transmist coronavirus the same or even more than unvaccinated. We have countries globally dealing with it completely differently than each other – and those with LESS interventions are doing better.

    We have the astonishing criticism of ivermectin as a therapeutic and the FDA trying to tell us its for cattle only. Ivermecting has been used over 4 BILLION times for humans – there are multiple types and loads of ivermectin. It is a proven therapeutic, ask the Indians.

    We have a terrified local population, almost convinced that if the borders open we’ll all die. The truth is we won’t, basically none of us will. Overall, there is a chance that maybe 100 of us (based on 70,000 population) may die.

    But it wont be 100. Nowhere near it. UNfortunately we’ve convinced ourselves it’ll be everyone and we’re acting as if that’s the case.

    2/3rd of the world don’t even catch the virus (its impossible for them, they have natural t-cell immunity). of the 1/3rd left, 0.15% of those infected (not cases – they’re all nonsense as we know with the PCR being run above 30 cycles) may unfortunately pass.

    This is no reason to continue collapsing Cayman’s economy and livelihoods and overall health and mental wellbeing.

    You’re going to be ok. Take a deep breath, relax, try not to let fear cloud your judgement.

    • Anonymous says:

      But it wont be 100. Nowhere near it. Unfortunately we’ve convinced ourselves it’ll be everyone and we’re acting as if that’s the case.

      And if you’re wrong, Mr. Armchair Scientist, what will you say to the families of those dead? So sorry, you shouldn’t have listened to me because I’m just an idiot who believes in horse dewormer above the medial advice of experts who actually studied soience?

    • Anonymous says:

      I nominate this post for the tallest pile of horse poop published today. That plus the greatest amount of disinformation is impressive!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Didn’t commissioner burns say last year they were going to clamp down on and prosecute online fake news? Well there are many people on here constantly posting fake news and lies saying the vaccines don’t work against the delta variant.

    This is anti vax lies and conspiracy people. Please get jabbed… when we get community spread in October you will need it… the Pfizer and astra
    Zeneca jabs are still highly effective in preventing serious illness or death from all strains of the virus including the delta variant.

    Those are the facts.

    • Anonymous says:

      Those are YOUR facts, not scientists facts. Even the CDC is saying that the effectiveness of the vaccines are waning.

      • Anonymous says:

        Right – here we go again with ‘alternative facts’. You believe that alien lizard people have have put microchips in the vaccine as well don’t you.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are the problem. Original poster is correct.

        • Anonymous says:

          How is the OP correct what the CDC and Fauci are backing that effectiveness is waning and all of the “break through cases” are displaying that it is true.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Vaxxed or Unvaxxed alike think future lockdowns are a bad idea. People who wanted to protect themselves did and others chose not to. Re-open borders and let things happen as they may. Future boosters are available for those who deem it necessary, there’s no reason to hold these islands hostage any longer.

    New Covid Pre-print: Drs Ioannidis & Axfors at Stanford
    Age Infection Survival Rate
    0-19 99.9973%
    20-29 99.986%
    30-39 99.969%
    40-49 99.918%
    50-59 99.73%
    60-69 99.41%
    70+ 97.6% (non-inst.)
    70+ 94.5% (all)

    from: Infection fatality rate of COVID-19 in community-dwelling populations with emphasis on the elderly: An overview

  12. Anonymous says:

    NO! My children will not be wearing masks!

    • Anonymous says:

      Then do not expect borders to open.

      • Anonymous says:

        People have been traveling in and out. The delta variant is already on island. It is not just the tourists who carry covid.

    • Anonymous says:

      Unless you tell him that he can be the Lone Ranger and then he keeps in on for days without taking it off.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Keep the same quarantine rules for everyone, vaxxed and unvaxxed alike. Knowing what we now know about vial load spread, it is the only strategy that has/will work. Otherwise we are heading for another lockdown. It’s an huge inconvenience but I would rather that option than lockdown.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. It makes no sense to only have a lessened quarantine for vaccinated people only. The vaccines are waning in their effectiveness, they do not prevent people from catching the virus, they do not prevent people from getting seriously ill (look at the woman who died from the cruise who was fully vaxxed), they do not prevent people from transmitting it, etc. The vaccines that we are all taking are effectively redundant, we are not vaccinating ourselves against anything anymore. They were only effective with the original strain, that is long gone. If you quarantine and test negative whether you are vaccinated or not, you are negative. It makes no sense discriminated against one set of people when research, the CDC,and Dr Fauci tell us that the vaccinated spread and transmit the virus the same or even more than unvaccinated. Should be one protocol for all, period.

  14. Anonymous says:

    So what is the point of reopening if we have to go back to wearing masks and distancing? Makes no sense. Why are they letting everyone in? why not open the borders to vaccinated people only? Sorry Kenneth but we need someone more qualified than you to run this show.

  15. Anonymous says:

    After great success in Cayman from strict quarantines in keeping us all protected, Govt. is now switching to open borders to undo all the great progress we have achieved. The decision to have completely open borders from the 14th October is absolutely reckless madness because it will mean a loss of our safe free and almost normal lives we live in Cayman. Restrictions, lockdowns, masks, closed businesses and restaurants, and social distancing and working from home will all return very quickly thanks to this stupidity of our Govt making this decision.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I understand that is should take the vaccinate to save my grandparents. But what I’m don’t understand is that no one is talking about vaccinated people who have died or are suffering with life threatening illnesses.

    Mr. Premier I would be inclined to take the vaccine if the truth was all on the table for myself to make a decision for me and my family. It just seems one sided with no teeth. Actually if I’m vaccinated and catch the virus, I can still transfer to my grandparents.

    Now my employers are forcing me to take the vaccines. Where is my right? Where is the human right commission?

    • Anonymous says:

      7:44 exactly. I was appalled at the bold faced lie he told in the briefing saying that there were no reports of adverse reactions nor hospitalizations. I know of 3 people who has severe reactions and were hospitalized, one for 2 weeks. It is scary that these are the people we are supposed to trust when they are lying to us. Where is the transparency? Where is the truth? I am not antivaxx at all, I’ve had mine however I think it is wrong that this information is being swept under the rug. There are people in our community who have been hurt by the vaccine, their stories should be heard, and help should be given to them.

  17. Anonymous says:

    On Oct 14th children under 12 will need to wear masks while learning to read, social distance, and still quarantine for 14 days if they travel off island for medical or other purposes. Who actually benefits from this decision?

    If we’re going to reopen why not first publish results on who is testing positive in quarantine. Are people suddenly testing positive on day 13 of quarantine? Are both vaccinated and unvaccinated testing positive? This will lead to an informed decision and reduce fear.

    If we’re not going to open at all, then please at a minimum add more accessible flights for medical purposes and hurricane evacuation and just keep a reasonable quarantine length for everyone including children.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Blah, blah, blah, blah……open borders. Threat those who gets sick. That is how humanity lived for millennia.

  19. Anonymous says:

    This Govt should require that any new Govt employee must be vaccinated prior to commencing work. This would be in tandem with the requirement for new work permit holders to be vaccinated. If work permit holders have to be vaccinated in order to be considered for renewal of their permit, then the same should apply to the renewal of CIG contracts. SAGCs should operate the same way. Further anyone having direct contact with the public should be vaccinated or pay the costs to be tested every month.

  20. Anonymous says:

    So Government in their infinite wisdom seems to want to try and import Covid-19.

    All is working good right now, so why change at this point?

    Can’t be that we need revenue, as Government gave itself a raise, giving away food at schools, hiring more staff, etc.

    The only bright spot about this is that the Sister Islands will return back to the days before Covid – was over their recently and seen plenty of visitors from Cayman. But that will stop once we can come and go the the States instead.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I note people want more cayman airways flights to visit USA but dont want borders open.paradoxical thinking

  22. Anonymous says:

    We the majority are vaxed and are not going to tolerate anymore government oppression.

  23. John says:

    What about cardiovascular disease/obesity and type 2 diabetes?

    Check them stats vs The Beer and The Airline.

    Eat a healthier lifestyle and that would put most of this to rest.

    The focus has been driven away by the real issue. Proper (real) food and exercising.

    Flu season kills people too…so why start now? I’ve always seen people come to the stores…look like they are about to puke, with no mask (PRIOR TO THIS RONA) say’n oh…I just got a little cold. :-\

    I stopped taking the flu shots because its…” well this year its 15% effective this year…”

    Im not an anit vax. Just my opinion, previous vaccinations were developed over time.

    Plus- yall seen the amount of mask floating in the ocean and in all over the beaches???. Puh’tetic.

    • Anonymous says:

      Half if not more people in the CIG are obese, so they know their risks and they keep the rest of the population hostages.

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