Cabinet restricts travellers over Omicron variant

| 27/11/2021 | 263 Comments
ORIA arrival area (file photo)

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Government has introduced travel restriction from nine countries in southern Africa and one in Europe in light of the emergence of a new coronavirus variant, which has been named Omicron. The countries affected are Belgium, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

According to new regulations issued Friday night, anyone who arrives here from, or has travelled through, these countries within the 21 days preceding their arrival in the Cayman Islands, must undergo PCR testing within 24 hours of arrival, and must also complete a quarantine period of not less than 14 days.

Travellers from these countries already in the Cayman Islands must also complete a 14 day quarantine.

People who have been in contact with someone who has travelled from or through the banned countries, including any other occupants of a private residence where they may be quarantining, must follow the instructions of the medical officer of health concerning testing and quarantine.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared Omicron, which was first reported in South Africa on 24 November, as a variant of concern, given the multiple mutations recorded by the scientists in South Africa who identified this variant.

By Saturday morning suspected cases of the latest and worrying variant of SARS-CoV-2 were also being investigated in Germany, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. The virus has also already been detected in Hong Kong and Israel.

Countries around the world began announcing travel bans and restrictions on Friday in response to the variant, which scientists have warned could be the worst and most infectious strain of the virus to date.

The South African foreign ministry issued a statement on Saturday strongly criticizing the travel bans, which it said were punishing the country for “excellent science” that should be applauded. Instead international governments were “punishing South Africa for its advanced genomic sequencing and the ability to detect new variants quicker”.

Public Health experts around the world are determining how effective the current COVID-19 vaccines are against this new strain and how fast it spreads.

See the new regulations concerning the Omicron travel bans in the CNS Library.


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Category: Health, Local News, Medical, Travel

Comments (263)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It’s now in the US. Restrict flight from there too? There goes the tourism industry bobo.

  2. Anonymous says:

    So are we locking down the island again? This new strain is confirmed present in many more countries and will likely continue to spread further. It makes no sense to me to allow travelers in from one country but not another when the new strain is present in both.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “Two Israeli doctors, both triple vaccinated, are confirmed with Omicron variant

    From CNN’s

    Two doctors working in Tel Aviv have been diagnosed with the Omicron variant, the Sheba Medical Center confirmed Tuesday, including the first known case of community spread of the variant in Israel. Both men had been vaccinated three times.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, well, well….

    • Anonymous says:

      @10:44 And?

      • Joel says:

        And, contact tracing shows the doctor who returned from a conference in London where he probably contracted the omicron variant had about 100 contacts. The other doctor is the only one to test positive. They rode in a car together unmasked. Neither have serious symptoms.
        SARS-CoV-2 will be around forever. It shouldn’t be the ONLY thing just A thing, and we have to learn to live with it, just as we do many, many other risks in life.

  4. Anonymous says:

    So it seems that Omicron may be less preventable and less treatable than Delta –

    “Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Tuesday prior analyses suggested its Covid-19 antibody cocktail, and similar drugs, could have reduced activity against the Omicron coronavirus variant.

    The drugmaker said analysis shows the individual mutations present in the Omicron variant indicate “that there may be reduced neutralization activity of both vaccine-induced and monoclonal antibody conveyed immunity”.

    Regeneron’s shares fell 2.2% to $639.95 before the bell, Reuters reports.

    Further analyses are ongoing to confirm and quantify this potential impact using the actual Omicron variant sequence, Regeneron said, adding that there was no direct data yet on whether the antibodies or vaccines confer less protection.

    The comments follow Moderna Inc’s chief executive officer, who said Covid vaccines are unlikely to be as effective against the Omicron variant as they have been previously.”

  5. Anonymous says:

    It’s quite interesting how this global pandemic has moved hateful people to feel free to show the world how they really feel about people who aren’t like them, and how casual the hatred is now. Every single news article seems to fuel an argument which eventually results in one or more people revealing their lack of empathy for people. Regardless of which side of the debate one is on, the least we can all do is be kind.

    • A.J. says:

      We are all in the same boat. It’s better to help than hate.

      • Joel says:

        And, contact tracing shows the doctor who returned from a conference in London where he probably contracted the omicron variant had about 100 contacts. The other doctor is the only one to test positive. They rode in a car together unmasked. Neither have serious symptoms.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s why Cayman in a mess now. We were too kind to most who came here and now they’re in charge

  6. Anonymous says:

    It looks like governments, pharma, healthcare providers and insurance companies are gonna be in bed for a long while.
    What once was a once-in a lifetime opportunity will be a twice-in a lifetime opportunity.
    The super rich gets extra ultra super rich while the middles and lower classes get shafted.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s already the state of the world. This just made them even more wealthy and powerful

  7. Anonymous says:

    This won’t be popular but there is a growing school of thought that the ‘vaccines’ which are not true vaccines are just playing with mother nature. We are in an ‘arms race’ with covid and it will just mutate more and more, a never ending cat and mouse game. Go about your life, social distance and practice good hygiene. All other pandemics ended and this one can to if we just let it run it’s course. Yes, I did take the vaccine, but now realising it was not what was promised.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, I had the double dose of vaccine earlier in the year and caught Covid in April whilst off island.
      I have a compromised lung and asthma, amongst other respiratory and gastric issues that mean I am extremely vulnerable to serious illness.
      I am thankful for having the vaccine as it almost certainly saved me from the worst effects the virus can cause.
      Please get vaccinated, mainly for your own protection. I am living proof that it can reduce the risk, the alternative is not worth contemplating.

      • Anonymous says:

        The problem is you may end up taking a booster for every variant in the future. It is still not known what the long term effects are of continually pumping this stuff into your body does. Who are the vaccinated going to blame when everyone is vaccinated, the 5 boosters vs the 4 boosters?

        • Anonymous says:

          This. It’s going to become the new antibiotic problem. Millions of people including children have been prescribed antibiotics over and over for years and their immune system cannot defend the body without reliance on more and more doses. Big Pharma and it’s shareholders are going to make so much more money going forward

          • Anonymous says:

            Over prescription of antibiotics has certainly caused an issue, but so has the introduction of antibiotics into the food chain. Farm animals are pumped with medicines you have no control over, and probably no knowledge of.
            The reliance of chicken and beef from the US is almost certainly doing you more harm than any Covid vaccine.
            The same could probably be said about those who cover themselves in tattoos without having the first idea where the ink comes from or from what it’s made. There’s no international health standard for it, so how can you know? And what about Vaping, speeding, drinking, and of course obesity and diabetes?
            But that’s the trouble with people that are myopically focused and obsessive about a single subject, they don’t see the real peril all around them, and that is far more dangerous.

            • Anonymous says:

              This Covid has shown just how mad People really are,I had My suspicions for years but Humans have smashed it in the past two years.

        • Anonymous says:

          If you take the annual flu jab, that’s exactly what you’re doing. So what’s the problem, as new variants arrive annual shots maybe necessary to keep ahead of them.
          It’s your choice, have it or not, personally I don’t care if you do or not, but don’t try and qualify your subjective, and frankly ill-informed opinion with non-sensical conspiracy theories aimed at stopping others from making a free choice.
          If you think risking a suffocating death is worth the gamble, then go ahead.

        • Anonymous says:

          @3:23 well you can choose the alternative, die quickly from the virus.

      • Anonymous says:

        ‘almost certainly’ is an oxymoron, however i’d be pretty optimistic that it won’t have harmed your personal ability to fight the virus.

        But you should equally be ‘almost certain’ that the vast majority of the world do not need any vaccine for this at all

        • Anonymous says:

          Well so far over 5 Million have died but I guess they don’t count.

          • Anonymous says:

            5 million is low ball too, as it doesn’t include the deaths from half the worlds countries that don’t keep record of deaths in their country.

            WHO estimates its 9-10 million dead so far

          • Anonymous says:

            How many die of cancer? Heart disease? I guess in your world they don’t count either?

        • Anonymous says:

          Study its etymology and you will find that the word “oxymoron” is an oxymoron. The takeaway: you have little chance to escape oxymorons used as figures of speech. Superfluous words are another feature that some writers are not fain to allow us to escape, and are a part of writing that editors are fain to cross out. In your comment, “personal”, and “at all”, are–almost certainly–superfluous.

        • Anonymous says:

          Just what we need, an English lesson by a real life genius whose only contribution is sarcasm and denial of the facts. Perhaps too clever not to realise their own post contains a handful of obvious errors in its composition.
          And don’t you just love armchair experts who make assumptions based on their own ill-informed biases instead of others real life experiences.
          Actually, real medical experts disagree with your ‘natural immunity’ claim as my immune system has been suppressed. But even if it wasn’t, it is widely accepted by those responsible for my healthcare that the vaccine did its job.
          But don’t let facts get in the way of hubristic eloquence.

      • Natural Immunity says:

        As well, alot of unvax living proofs who recovered and doing just fine. 👍🏽 🙂

        • Anonymous says:

          Local fact: Over 80% of those hospitalised for Covid are non-vaxed. Odds are almost all of those will recover and most will be “doing fine”, some will not do fine and will continue with “long Covid” or life-limiting long-term effects well after discharge. According to all reliable stats, the vaccine is effective in decreasing the odds of developing a serious infection and reducing the odds of hospitalisation, death, and developing “long Covid”. I like the idea of reduced odds of being counted among those who have suffered the nightmare of being hospitalised for Covid and recovered. I like the reduced potential of being hospitalised in the first place and I like the reduced potential of developing long Covid: so I got vaxed.

        • Janice Williams says:

          The anti-vax crowd can make their choice as they think the can’t get sick. If they get sick they should have the right to stay at home and save a hospital bed for someone else.

          • Anonymous says:

            Hopefully, you are not in the medical profession, because that not how it works. Medical professionals don’t discriminate when it comes to patient care.

            • Anonymous says:

              Yes, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t a hypocrite for ignoring their advice and then relaying on their skills to save your ignorant life.

              • Anonymous says:

                Using your logic, someone who has a heart attack, stroke, allergic reaction and knowing the risks, should simply not be treated? A burn victim who knows fire is dangerous should not be treated?

    • Anonymous says:

      This “vaccine” semantic game is part of the tin hat repertoire. For the purposes of this discussion, let’s ditch the word vaccine and use the term “jab-treatment” instead. Irrespective of the tin hat spewings from the loony anti-vax fringe in the USA, EU, UK, et al, all local evidence points to the fact that the jab-treatment works to lessen morbidity and by extension, mortality. Local fact: Over 80% of those hospitalised for Covid are non-jab-treated. Use this in the context that the jab-treated population is around 80% and please explain how the jab-treatment is “not as promised”. At the outset, the goals of the jab-treatment programmes were to: 1. Reduce infection rate-Outcome:Yes. 2. Reduce morbidity-Outcome:Yes. 3. Reduce mortality-Outcome:Yes. The jab-treatment apparently is working as promised. Do bear in mind that NO medical treatment is 100% effective; thus, it is disingenuous to say that the jab-treatment has little or no value because infection occurs in a certain percentage of those who have received the jab-treatment. Breakthrough infections are a feature common to all treatments/therapies/vaccines that are designed to reduce infection rates.

      • Anonymous says:

        Well perhaps you would like to explain the eradication of smallpox etc. or that sars 1 just disappeared on it’s own. Or why vaccine passports are being used when people have natural immunity. The ONLY message is ‘get the vaccine’. You are missing the point the ‘jab’ as you call it only makes you less sick and does little to eradicate. That was the previous definition of vaccine, now conveniently changed. I neither wear a tinfoil hat or anti-vaccination. I am against the politicisation of medicine. Let doctors be doctors and prescribe therapeutic drugs which they are now not allowed to do because of politics.

        • Anonymous says:

          Exactly. And now today from the UK – they are adjusting the booster interval to 3 months. All just in time for the next variant. Tinfoil or not – the message from now on is:
          Rinse, wash, repeat.

        • Anonymous says:

          With a simple understanding of the clinical differences between the two viri and the respective vaccines it is easy to understand the eradication of smallpox in contrast to currently dominant Covid strains:
          First is transmission rate:
          Small pox has an R0 of about three. Delta Covid R0 is around 5 to 7. Smallpox being significantly less contagious.

          Next we consider the clinical efficacy of the two vaccines: They are similar. However, the smallpox jab offers vastly longer immunity due to the nature of the vaccine and the virus. C19 mutates at a vastly more rapid rate.
          Next is one important factor that you will find particularly interesting and one which you may not want to hear. That factor is vaccine uptake: In regard to smallpox, as early as The 1853 Vaccination Act the UK made it compulsory for all children born after 1 August 1853 to be vaccinated against smallpox during their first 3 months of life. Since then smallpox vaccinations have been compulsory in many jurisdictions globally. The takeaway for this is that you bring up an excellent case for a compulsory Covid-jab programme. I am sure you should agree that perhaps if we had a similar mandatory population-scale vaccine uptake for the Covid jab we could have a much better chance to contain C19.
          Thank you for the support!

  8. Anonymous says:

    If 13 passengers from South Africa arrive in Holland with negative PCR tests then test positive for omicron it is no wonder the spread remains unchecked. Quite likely in Cayman already.

    • Anonymous says:

      Some 61 of those on the planes tested positive for the virus on PCR tests after they were stopped at the airport, despite having to provide proof of a negative lateral flow test taken within 24 hours before boarding the flight.

      It raises the prospect that tests are not being performed correctly for travellers in South Africa, fraudulent tests are being provided or lateral flow tests may be less able to detect the Omicorn variant.

      • Anonymous says:

        While there are numerous possibilities, it seems that there is science based reason to suppose that some LFTs do not work with Omicron which is why governments around the planet are not accepting them for Omicron screening until it is clear that they work.

    • Anon345 says:

      it’s basic ‘Survival of the fittest’ thoery.

      each version of the virus wants to be the pre-eminent version of the virus so is in effect in competition with all the other versions.

      to be more successful than the rest it needs to be a combination of;
      more infectious
      less harmful (so it as more time to transmit from person to person)
      take longer to be detected (allows more time to transmit)
      be more resilient to the vaccinations

      of course the virus doesn’t know any of this, the traits come around by ongoing mutation. most fail, a few succeed.

      In the long term successful mutations are generally good news for humans as they will tend to be less harmful (yay) but more infectious (boo).

      this is how covid19 will eventually become another background flu.

      the press of course never tells you any of this. scaring the crap out of people with a new variant story sells far more copies.

      but evolution will take its course regardless, as it has many many times before. how many people die of spanish flu each year today? does anyone care?… it killed 50-100 million in just 3 or 4 years a hundred years ago.

  9. Anonymous says:

    “The South African foreign ministry issued a statement on Saturday strongly criticizing the travel bans, which it said were punishing the country for “excellent science” that should be applauded”

    Leave it to clown politicians to conflate two issues and obfuscate the issue.

    By that standard, if someone walks up to an Australian airline gate, with a proper ticket, loudly announcing that he might have a gun and might injure or kill people if allowed in the plane, would Australia be treating him “unfairly” because rather than lauding him for his honesty, they “punish” him by not allowing him to enter?
    Most politician (including most of ours) are either tuckfarded or deceitful beyond measure.

    I laud Australia for their excellent research and for being forthcoming; however, I also laud the countries who have sense enough to bar travelers from Australia until the threat from Omicron is better understood.

    • Anonymous says:

      You went off the rail in your comment. People like you frighten me, not freaking virus or viruses.

      • Anonymous says:

        Your reaction sounds like that of one so delicate that their own shadow makes them quiver. If you think that was me “going off the rails”, your heart would stop if you actually were around when I go “off the rails”.

    • Anonymous says:

      South Africa not Australia. Rather undermines any credibility in your argument when you can’t even get the country right.

      • Anonymous says:

        The nationality of the airline is of no significance. Your comment did not address the validity of the analogy. Nor did it negate the wisdom of barring entry from Omicron countries. Try again.

    • Anonymous says:

      Omnicron ? What happened to epsilon through to xi? But like hurricanes- they are going to have to use an additional alphabet to keep up.

      • Anonymous says:

        you do know Omnicron is part of the same Alphabet as Delta etc?

        and there have been variants declared after Delta (including Epsilon) already.

        this is you’re lesson for today, happy to teach you

      • Anonymous says:

        Xi is among the names that were excluded so as not to distress or offend people with that common Asian name.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Methinbks it is time for Panton and his Clown Car to reconsider the secretly planned cruise ship entry.

    • Anonymous says:

      Stop following the UK every time they make a wrong decision. You should have restricted the BA flight that would have been really a benefit to us all in the c19 infections.

    • Anonymous says:

      what is the difference between the cruise ship and next ba flight?

      • Anonymous says:

        Lets see, apart from the fact that one is air worthy and the other is presumably sea worthy, one brings us vaccines once or twice a month while the other brings sewage, one has about 1800 more people, one has more fat bare bellies on display. How is that for a start?

      • Annymous says:

        One governs and protects you

  11. Anonymous says:

    I guess when the other countries closed their borders, cayman will shamefully close its borders.
    The living with covid approach will not work, we should eradicate covid.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is the best time close the border to eradicate covid from within the country: by stop the testing, and vaccinating, then reopen to countries who have also successfully eradicate covid within their borders by using the same strategy.
    Meanwhile placing emphasis on the domestic economy.
    We are not escaping this. This is what is required.

    • Anonymous says:

      you must be a troll.

    • Anonymous says:

      Living with covid is not acceptable, that approach got us here. Covid can be eliminated.

      • Anonymous says:

        True, but it takes sacrifice from everyone to acknowledge that closure of borders and restrictions on travel is necessary to do so. Based on the push from the influential to reopen regardless of this pandemic, it’s doubtful that will happen. Profits over people is a global cancer

      • Anonymous says:

        And what university is your doctorate in virology or immunology from that you assert ‘Covid can be eliminated’ can you share your empirical evidence to support this claim?

      • Anonymous says:

        No it cannot. No country has successfully eliminated Covid, all they do is delay the next phase and for taking stock of the situation. Lockdowns are a fire break, not a solution, and definitely not a cure.
        Europe are suffering the consequence of low vaccination and the later release from restrictions.
        We absolutely must learn to live with this virus, it’s going to with us for a long time.

        • Anonymous says:

          Fire breaks are used to combat wildfires in places like the American west. They protect property and save lives. So, what’s your point?

          • Anonymous says:

            Well done genius, that’s the point. By imposing a ‘fire break’ lockdown the authorities are effectively saving lives by temporarily stopping community spread. This would be the analogy, to cause a break in transmission and probably save lives.
            Wow, I don’t what’s scarier, Covid or someone who needs such a simple analogy explained.

            • Anonymous says:

              What a ridiculous analogy! Covid isn’t like fire. It’s not going away, you can’t put it out. As soon as your firebreak is lifted Covid will re-infect. Talk about kicking the can down the road.

              • Anonymous says:

                Nay. Incorrect, 2:21. If you look at it logically, comparing C19 to fire is an apt analogy. Fire is not possible to eradicate, it will always be around. When a local fire flares up, we do mitigation procedures (such as firebreaks) and attempt to put out the local flare up. Fire codes and regulation establish policy to lessen the danger of a local fire starting.

    • Anonymous says:

      what? so close the borders to everyone, no more vaccination, find other countries that have borders closed to everyone and invite them to come here.

      Place emphasis on the domestic economy….you mean the economy that spirals down when you close the borders indefinitely while you eradicate the virus while no longer testing and vaccinating.

      Well thought out, thanks for your ideas, you should run for office

      • Anonymous says:

        So all the other countries with successful economies that have closed borders will fail? You should have let them out know!

        • Anonymous says:

          no country has had closed borders as long as Cayman did, and not all countries rely on visitors to support the economy. Go ahead with the “we don’t need visitors”…Who do you think is buying the 1000+ condos currently under construction? PS governments around the world have been helping keep the economies alive, but that is an expensive short term plan. It is not viable as a long term solution. Maybe spend a little more time trying to understand economics before attempting sarcasm

    • EradicateNot says:

      @9:10 a.m. – Ummm – Covid is not going to be eradicated, it is going to be with us for years. It will become endemic and there are no countries that have or will eradicate this virus. Do you realize in order to bring Cayman to a zero covid status we would need to close the border completely? No one would be allowed in or out for any reason. It would not matter if a person needed medical treatment outside these borders, you could not leave. It would not matter if kids were away at school, they could not come back until who knows when.

      Eradicate Covide – NOT going to happen.

      • Anonymous says:

        This defeatist thought process is akin to the allies surrendering early in world war 2 or Jonas Salk giving up hope

  13. tom says:

    We are very lucky to have so many experts here at CNS comments. Here is what we know: Omicron is probably far more transmissible than Delta, or maybe less transmissible. Omicron produces symptoms which are much worse than Delta, except maybe not as severe. The vaccines don’t work against this new variant, except they probably do.
    Bottom line, we don’t know yet, let the experts do the actual work, and don’t listen to all the speculation. This is not the time to panic! (unless it is)

  14. Anonymous says:

    The Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly this morning said there are “more than 10” possible cases of the Omicron variant in Ireland.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Irish health minister has absolutely zero professional experience in anything regarding health..that’s why So many repeatedly call for his removal. I like him, he’s pro legalizing drugs. Alas, he’s currently out of his depth and overseeing a brewing civil unrest in a beautiful country.

  15. Anonymous says:

    “The Omicron variant is likely to spread internationally, posing a “very high” global risk where Covid-19 surges could have “severe consequences” in some areas, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said this morning.

    “Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic,” the WHO said. “The overall global risk related to the new variant of concern Omicron is assessed as very high.”

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