Roper: Cayman taking different approach than UK

| 25/10/2021 | 29 Comments
Cayman News Service
Governor Roper gets a booster vaccine

(CNS): Governor Martyn Roper has sought to reassure the community that the Cayman Islands Government is taking a very different approach to the one taken by the UK when it comes to opening up to tourists and dropping quarantine requirements for vaccinated guests in the face of the pandemic. While officials managing the plans surrounding COVID-19 have been taking advice all along from Public Health England (renamed the UK Health Security Agency) Cayman will not be lifting restrictions the way they have been removed across Britain. Roper said the approach here “differs very markedly from the more open policy followed in the UK”.

The UK has had one of the highest infection and death rates in the world since the very beginning of the pandemic and has struggled to get a grip on the spread. Even now, with one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, it appears to be facing another surge with a new mutation of Delta variant, AY.4.2 but known as ‘Delta Plus’.

While the percentage of people infected becoming ill or dying has fallen steeply because of the successful vaccination programme, the sheer number of people being infected every day is leading to a larger number of people becoming unwell and putting strain once again on the National Health Service.

In a statement released by his office following the press briefing on Friday evening, the governor said the CIG was taking a cautious and careful approach with significant mitigations in place.

The high vaccine take-up in the Cayman Islands combined with other mitigation factors, such as the roll-out of boosters, the use of lateral flow tests to detect and isolate positive cases, mask wearing, good hand hygiene and social distancing measures, are all crucial to the “new normal” and how to live with COVID safely, he said.

“We may see more cases but the science gives us confidence that when combined all these measures will contain the spread of the virus and prevent the overwhelming majority of us from getting seriously ill or dying. It is therefore reassuring that only two people are in hospital with COVID. Both are doing well and we send them our best wishes for a speedy recovery.”  

The governor stressed the importance of the booster in helping the community cope with increased infections and said another 11,000 doses were due to arrive in the second half of November, or sooner if necessary.

“As we move towards a new normal of living with COVID, each of us needs to assume personal responsibility for protecting everyone in our community by following the public health regulations and guidelines. The majority of us have done that outstandingly over the pandemic. We need to step up even more now,” he said.

Roper gave his support for government’s decision to lift quarantine restrictions in four weeks time to vaccinated visitors who have tested negative. He said the time had come to move forward with reopening and live with the virus.

“We can no longer stand still because the costs – economic, social mental health – are mounting and will only rise further if we remain stuck. But we have to move forward as safely as possible,” he said. “We are as well prepared as anywhere in the world to take this next step.”

See the full statement here.

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Comments (29)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What complete rubbish and fear-mongering in relation to the UK statistics. The reason our numbers are high is because we are testing ***10 times*** as many people as comparable European countries, and our positivity rate (which is what counts) is actually around half. The source for this is Professor Tim Spector who helped develop the Oxford vaccine.
    If this mis-information is genuinely being spouted by the governor, he should retract it and apologise.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Mr Roper – how many of the vaccines paid for by the UK were used to vaccinate tourists and other people who weren’t entitled to them? I personally know of at least one wealthy American family who like to spend their winters in Cayman and shamelessly took these vaccines for free. I have asked you office about this but not even had an acknowledgement.
    People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dr. Edwin Michael the data scientist/virologist warned that our healthcare will most likely become overwhelmed if we “open-up” in November. He goes on to say that we will reach herd immunity quicker but will overwhelm our hospitals. Maybe it needs repeating. “But we will overwhelm our hospitals”

    He posits that a safer, less costly date would be Feb 4th 2022. We would be at approximately 95% immunity level then.
    (To the point fwd 30 minutes into the segment).

    It would be good to note, this panel was hosted by CMR. To say the least, a very PACT friendly News Media company.
    The data, the forecast and the advice of Dr. Michael is in direct contravention with PACT’s border reopening schedule/plan.

    • Anonymous says:

      Like a hurricane track projection, Dr Edwin models a cone of assumption ranging from 150 to 800 new cases per day that can be remodelled now with booster rollout, lateral testing, universal mask wearing/distancing and reduced capacity for indoor gatherings, dining etc. Even if we each have to run a $7 rapid antigen/lateral flow test for every day we want to go outside, that is a new cost of liberty not factored into the cone.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The governor is doing what he has to do and I appreciate his calm demeanor during this crisis. That said, I don’t know if the governor providing his support for the decisions that are being made by the government is of any real comfort to anyone. I also suspect that, irrespective of what the governor says, people will draw their own conclusions as it relates to how close they think the government is following the UK approach to managing the virus.

    The governor is highlighting that the economic and social costs have now outweighed the benefits of maintaining the strict suppression measures that would help to keep the virus out of the community. The reality of things is that the government is betting on the vaccine to prevent people from getting seriously sick or dying.

    • Anonymous says:

      At the cost of local businesses and economy .The Governor has Zero skin in the game, as when his tenure is up he will just wave goodbye from the top of the 777 boarding staircase.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well said roper. We are miles late in doing what the rest of the world do… live with a virus that is never going away. And we have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world,

    • Anonymous says:

      We are tremendously vaccinated but not against the much-altered foe and with waning antibodies. Misguided confidence will play out just like elsewhere with surging cases. We won’t be open or free for very long if we don’t also reintroduce masking, distancing and gathering rules…including capacity and spacing limits for indoor dining, bars, nightclubs, conferences, churches, charity events, and gyms. Wave that freedom flag if you got one.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the Premier. Does that sound familiar ?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I hear that the testing service and other covid related services are already buckling under the strain of numbers, just dealing with our own community. People are waiting for days on end to get a positive test result, meanwhile going about their everyday activities and spreading the infection.
    And people with symptoms calling the flu hotline are being told they just have a cold, go to the pharmacy and get some cough medicine, and are being discouraged from getting a test. Is this to keep our confirmed cases artifically low?
    So what about the tourists? Won’t they all need a negative test to get on their flight home? How is our testing service going to cope with the huge extra demand of testing all the tourists on time. And are tourists going to have to pay for these tests themselves?
    And what will happen if a tourists tests positive and cannot go home? Will they and their group be removed from their hotel and sent to an approved quaratine facility? Who will pay for it? What if they cannot pay/refuse to pay?
    What if they need covid medical treatment and don’t have insurance? Who pays for that?
    This whole thing seems to be a complete disaster in the making. A lot of expenses for the government (ultimately for the people of Cayman) while the income from tourism goes to a select few already rich people.

    • Anonymous says:

      100% right!

    • Anonymous says:

      All remarkably well observed points and also points you hear absolutely Zip about, from the agencies involved in delivering them. The simple answer is there will be practically no tourism at all when Caymans deficient capacity to cope with all these variables become apparent.
      How are Caymanians going to be able to board a plane for a trip after 2 years locked on the island, when you will be waiting last in line for a 72 hour test result in order to fly to Miami ? Governor Roper, What Say You?

    • Anonymous says:


      • Most travelers returning home don’t need PCR tests. That is where the holdup is. Instead, a rapid antigen test (lateral flow) performed by a doctor/clinic is sufficient and is quick/easy.
      • Regarding insurance…..all Cayman has to do is follow what other places have been doing for over a year: require a Covid policy.

  8. Anonymous says:

    In general I have a lot of respect for this Governor. He is one of the best we have had in recent decades.

    However on this occasion I think he has placed attention on the wrong factors.

    It is true that there are differences between what the UK did and what PACT is proposing. What is not different is that the politicians in both countries started to ignore the science and public health truths and instead got taken over by special interests. That path leads to disaster and avoidable deaths on both sides of the Atlantic.

  9. Anonymous says:

    “ Roper gave his support for government’s decision to lift quarantine restrictions in four weeks time to vaccinated visitors who have tested negative”

    Would be reassuring to hear more info on this:
    Fully vaccinated visitors who are at least two weeks past their second shot?
    Who have tested negative – where? In their home country/point of departure or here, at the airport with a lateral flow on arrival?
    What happens to visitors who test positive? And those traveling with them?
    And how do visitors who need negative PCR tests before landing back in their own countries access the tests, without straining our already stretched test and trace team and labs?
    Given the fast growth of community spread, are curfews and limiting numbers in bars, restaurants being considered for the next few months?
    What about QR proof of vaccine/recent negative test apps to access bars, clubs, restaurants and gyms, for residents and visitors alike?
    Please can we get this covered in the next press conference?
    (I know the media only had 2 questions last time but…)

  10. Anonymous says:

    It is clear to most people that economic costs are driving the current decision making. The CITA and their lobby partners have masterfully navigated the PACT personalities and hats off to them for being able to apply the appropriate pressure and persuasion to get the outcome that they wanted. The voters will ultimately decide if the decisions made by the PACT government represents what is best for them.

    • Anonymous says:

      “economic costs” being the Civil Service…..

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s fatigue and desire driven, not cost driven. An open border will ironically spell closed schools, businesses, and reduced liberties until the daily case load settles back sometime in Q1 2022.

  11. Anonymous says:

    But Governor. The UK is living with Covid and John Lee explained that was fine.

    Not quite, eh?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Correct me if I’m mistaken but yearly vaccines are updated to meet the mutations of a virus. What updates have been made to the pfizer vaccine? Or are we getting the same vaccine for a different virus?

    • Anonymous says:

      The same.

      Why COVID boosters weren’t tweaked to better match latest variants

    • Anonymous says:

      Flu vaccines are comprised of 4 components from historical problematic lineages of seasons past. Plagues in the rear view that we don’t want to rage back. They are not necessarily for what might be circulating the coming season because there is no time travel or method to predict what will spread yet. This year’s flu shot is for two swine flu lineages plus two reruns from last year’s flu shot. If you are vaccinated and encounter one or more of a close match to these strains, you might have a 49-60% leg up on someone who didn’t. Having current antibodies against COVID 19 is a good leg up for Delta and Delta Plus, but it’s not a match that eliminates risk of infection or necessarily illness.

  13. Anonymous says:

    i;m a fan of roper…but what he is saying makes zero sense. there is very little difference between cayman and uk from 20th nov….
    how many sick people puts out helath service at risk?

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