Omicron travellers’ contacts to lock down

| 02/12/2021 | 87 Comments

(CNS): Public Health has changed the rules again for household members and primary contacts of travellers who test positive for COVID-19 on their return to the Cayman Islands. Under the new regulations, if a traveller tests positive, their family and contacts, even if they are negative, must stay locked down until they know that the positive person is not carrying the new SARS-CoV-2 variant, Omicron, which is causing significant concern around the world.

If those travellers are found not to be infected with this latest strain, their contacts who test negative will be able to use lateral flow testing to leave isolation. But contacts of travellers infected with Omicron will now remain locked down until everyone in the household gets a negative exit test.

There have been no confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the Cayman Islands to date, but as of Thursday morning it had been detected in 30 countries. In the US, Omicron has been discovered in California but not yet in Miami.

However, because this latest variant appears to be highly contagious and experts do not yet know if it has any resistance to the vaccines, there is global concern that COVID-19 cases will surge rapidly once again, putting further strain on health systems.

Here in Cayman, officials said positive travellers, their household members and primary contacts will also be required to wear wristbands. These changes to Public Health policy are already in effect and apply to all travellers, regardless of the destination they have travelled from.

Officials said this was a direct response to the concerns relating to Omicron. Medical Officer of Health Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez said, “The objective of these new measures is to protect our residents should the strain reach the Cayman Islands. This will also allow us to more easily detect and manage any cases.”

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Comments (87)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Common sense says when we get cold and cough dont know covid or flu. When covid test positive dont know delta or omicron. So what . The preventive measures are same and I am not repeating.
    So we learnt we cant stop entry of covid but we delayed. Similarly we will not stop omicron.
    Then the Public health saying any positive visitor and family contacts inquarantine until omicron test negTive is useless.
    A visitor may test positive on 7th day and I need not say consequences.
    Just learn from usa canada and uk and follow them. We r not better than them. We have to learn and follow them.think.

  2. Anonymous says:


    At this point – I’d trust a TV Psychic over this

  3. Anonymous says:

    It is sad to note criticism of action taken by Public health as it causes inconvenience to but asks govt what steps r taken re Omicron
    The public health step taken in response to Omicron is excellent and we shld support if we want its entry prevention as we did for covid in general
    Ths to public health.

    • Anonymous says:

      Omicron can’t be prevented indefinitely, only slowed. Most countries only require contacts outside your household to get tested and quarantine if positive. Also I think the hypocrisy of allowing in a cruise ship full of passengers without any of the same restrictions is upsetting for some.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s a mutation of the vaccinated, will be here soon

        • Anonymous says:

          WOW STILL?
          You HAVE to know by now that it’s the unvaxxed who cause all the mutations right? STOP the nonsense!

          • Anonymous says:

            You’re both wrong. The virus mutates in infected people. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people get infected.

            There are good reasons to get vaccinated. Prevention of mutilations is not one of them.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Just ridiculous. Omicron seems to be milder than delta, and the vaccines work against it. Everyone should be on booster by now. This is so unnecessary.

  5. Anonymous says:

    So does this mean if one of the many people people travelling over Christmas returns to work and ends up positive, everyone in the office is going to have to quarantine whether they are positive or not?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Umm how will we know what strain the person has ? Isn’t that done in Trinidad or somewhere ? So when a traveller tests positive are we going to send every single sample to Trinidad for identification ?

  7. bob semour says:

    So lets say your a family of 4. A toddler and a 8 year old you come to Cayman and someone gets ill in the last week and being proactive go get a test and its positive where do they all quarantine, for how long and who pays it. Surely they cant get on an airliner if the family could essentially have covid.

  8. Anin says:

    So what happens is a visitor staying at a hotel tests positive? Does the whole hotel have to be locked down? How do you separate those who are traveling/primary contacts to those who they sit next to by the pool/beach everyday, share a lift with etc

  9. Anonymous says:

    Will the positives be honest about who they came into contact with? They may not, trying to protect their family and friends, especially if their livelihood would get affected due to isolation.

    Did the first case in September ever came out honestly with who did he come in contact with? There you go…

  10. James says:

    All these new restrictions for air arrival and we are letting cruise ships sail back in unchecked. WOW.

  11. SayWhat says:

    Say What??? I’m sorry but this is pointless. Another knee-jerk reaction to a variant that we don’t know much about. If CIG was looking for a way to put a nail in the reopening coffin they just found it and hit the nail squarely on top.

    If one person tests positive then everyone stays in isolation until that person gets a PCR test and it is determined which strain of Covid the positive person has. How long does that take? How many people are going to take the chance that their 7-day vacation turns into the last 4 days being in quarantine because one person is positive and it takes 2+ days to get PCR test results?

    And as others have mentioned, how does this work with the cruise ship that is supposed to dock here in December? One set of rules for those people and another set of rules for air travelers, returning residents, etc.

    This is totally insane.

    • Anonymous says:

      🤯🙈🤦‍♂️ Agree

      “It’s just a mask.” “It’s just six feet.” “It’s just two weeks.” “It’s just non essential businesses.” “It’s just non essential workers.” “It’s just a bar.” “It’s just a restaurant.” “It’s just to keep from overwhelming the hospitals.” “It’s just to make the cases go down.” “It’s just to flatten the curve.” “It’s just a few inmates.” “It’s just to keep others from getting scared.” “It’s just for a few more weeks.” “It’s just church.” “It’s just a bracelet.” “It’s just an app.” “It’s just for tracing.” “It’s just to let others know you’re safe to be around.” “It’s just to let others know who you’ve been in contact with.” “It’s just a few more months.” “It’s just a large gathering but for protests.”

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree wholeheartedly. The latest in a very long succession of knee-jerk reactions, most of which have not been based in science, or are downright nonsensical.

    • Anonymous says:

      @6:01 government will tank our freaking economy with schizophrenic knee jerk nonsense. Would anyone travel to the US, if there was a chance the US government would lock them down?

      Looks like a lot of mortgage will be going unpaid and banks will have no choice to foreclose…oh wait the politicians (defenders of the people) will criticize the banks for running their business properly.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Doesn’t really matter now, probably already here and the Christmas socializing will make sure it spreads evenly, there is no social distancing enforcement.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Anyone that had plans for Tourism based visits here once the new U.S. rules come in just cancelled & dropped the flight itinerary in the shredder. Trying to imagine getting a PCR test here for a minimum several hundred people inside 24 hours of the plane going wheels up, travel authorization letter, vaccination confirmation ,etc,etc.

    • Anon says:

      My result was ready in 2 hours at Health City in Camana Bay

    • Anonymous says:

      Can’t be done. Does it have to be PCR?

    • Dgordon says:

      US requires antigen (flow) test, not PCR.

    • Anonymous says:

      It can be a PCR test or a formal, supervised antigen test. There are a lot of providers in Cayman that can turn these around quickly (there is a tidy little profit for each of them on this test).

      But it does create yet one more headache, uncertainty and stress point for a pure tourist.

      More importantly, it is testing positive on any of the day 2, 5, 10 or exit tests for you or your travelling companions, and getting locked down abroad in a hotel room for maybe a couple weeks.

      • anonymous says:

        Is everyone aware that Cayman Airways through direction of the Cayman Government requires a PCR test to board the flight regardless of what U.S. will accept. This is based on a conversation with Cayman Airways only 2 days ago

      • Big Bobo In West Bay says:

        Why would any tourist really want to put up with all this stress and nonsense? Especially when all will be fully vaccinated and most will have had a third booster plus a negative test in the U. S. and Canada just before coming here.

        Tourists are going to stay away when they find out what they will have to go through.

    • Orlando Bob says:

      Impossible to get a PCR test here in 24 hours. Might as well not allow any American tourists into Cayman as they will never be able to get back into America until 24 hour rule is changed back to 72 hours.

      We are a slow people in terms of testing.

    • Anonymous says:

      I was able to get a PCR test one hour before my flight when I was leaving Canada. You can also get them at Miami airport. Cayman will need to set up a testing center just like other airports do.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Can HSA or any of the testing facilities turn around PCR test results within 24 hrs. For all the US planes(travelers) that will need them for departure to the US?

    • Anonymous says:

      Just posted on NY Time, this clarifies the new CDC rule and rapid antigen if verifiable (health provider administered) are acceptable. Let’s hope the health care community steps up to offer information on how it will handle this demand.

      “Travel testing requirements. The Biden administration shortened the time frame for international travelers to the U.S. to take and present a negative Covid test to 24 hours from 72 hours. The new rules apply to foreigners coming to the U.S. and Americans returning home, and are expected to take effect next week.

      While the new 24-hour window adds another layer of preflight stress, results for antigen tests are normally available within a few hours, so it should be possible to take a test and get the results within the prescribed period.”

      The U.S. stopped short of imposing a mandatory seven-day quarantine on arrivals, and it did not upgrade its standard for an acceptable Covid test to a P.C.R. test, which can take significantly longer to produce results.

      There is no testing requirement for flying domestically, although Biden did extend the current mask mandate for people on airplanes, trains and buses, and in terminals and transit hubs, through mid-March.

    • Anonymous says:

      They were turning tests around same day as a matter of routine. This has been the experience of most people that have travelled and done quarantine earlier in the year.

      With higher volume they may be taking a bit longer but that could be easily solved with a premium payment if needed.

      In other places you can get PCR done in 2hrs or less. You just need to pay more.

      The other point about U.S requirements is that is it a calendar day before your flight not 24hrs. That can give a bit of extra time that sometimes matters.

  15. Anonymous says:

    What a joke this has all turned out to be.

    The double-standards are ridiculous. In some circumstances we have people walking around in space suits squirting hand sanitizers on people to try and stop an airborne virus.

    On the other we have people freely mixing together in bars and nightclubs and we are allowing cruise ships back even though it’s widely acknowledged that vaccines do almost nothing to stop transmission of Delta (never mind Omicron) after five or six months*.

    *obligatory disclaimer. This is not an anti-vax comment, vaccines provide substantial protection against serious illness and death (at least they do for Delta, who knows for the new strain).

  16. Anonymous says:

    “The Omicron variant appears to be reinfecting people at three times the rate of previous strains, experts in South Africa have said.

    According to new evidence collected by the country’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the latest epidemiological evidence suggests that Omicron can evade immunity from infection with earlier variants and is causing reinfections at three times previous rates.

    “We believe that previous infection does not provide protection from Omicron,” said Anne von Gottberg, an expert at the NICD.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Neither does the vaccine. It is evading it all

    • anonymous says:

      This should’t be surprise at all. Flu’s and Cold’s are continually changing with different variants and that is why each flu season there is a different shot. Colds are not the same cold but a variant of another. This is standard and therefore nothing exceptional

    • Anonymous says:

      And 100% of those with this strain have much more mild symptoms than the Delta variant.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how long I can legally work remotely from Florida? Maybe a couple more years of this bullshit and the futility of it all will finally sink in.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you are working in the USA for an offshore company you could be in trouble.
      Are you there as a tourist? To stay so long, are you American? You are now legally resident there & that has tax implications.

    • Anonymous says:

      IRS on line 1

  18. Anonymous says:

    The new US rules for air passengers, and in particular the reduction from 72 hours to 24 hours in time between PCR test and arrival in the US will hopefully indirectly assist us in delaying the importation of Covid into Cayman.

    • Hubert says:

      Problem is going to be for tourists going back to America. Good luck getting results for your negative test 24 hours before you depart Cayman. 72 hours was possible but 24 hours is going to present challenges this month with so many new arrivals who will go back to America.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bobo, you don’t understand. The rule from 72 to 24 hours will keep Americans here longer against their will and will ultimately result in delaying COVID from Cayman into America. Though will be tough getting tests in 24 hours especially on Boxing Day, Xmas and New Years Day.

      Note that every American that comes here will be fully vaccinated and many will have a third booster too while many at Customs & Immigration have no vaccinations.

      Does this make sense?

  19. Anonymous says:

    incubation period of 21 days…omnicron will be here sooner or later …if not here already.
    laughable to think you can keep a virus out with open borders.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Speechless. Truly building the airplane in flight. If you want to make sure more people get COVID, lock the negatives with the positives.

  21. Anonymous says:

    While Omicron is more contagious, symptoms are milder than the other variants, so why all the panic?

  22. Anonymous says:

    So am I correct here….A contact of a positive person that was a traveler will now have to wear a tracking system?
    Locking up contacts is NOT a good move to threaten, people will not come forward and people will not dob in contacts now!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Will the cruise passengers on Holland America be subject to the same principle – that if a single person on the cruise ship tests positive for Omnicron, the whole lot of them will have to stay on board irrespective of individual LFT tests? and in the absence of Holland America having genomic sequencing equipment on board to o allow them to identify which strain a passenger is infected with, will a single positive LFT on a passenger get get everyone quarantined? Or have they not thought that one through yet?

    • Anonymous says:

      Cruise passengers do not even need to be vaccinated let alone tested for Covid. Somebody is getting something and that is why they are allowed to disregard the rules that ought to apply.

      • Anonymous says:

        Check your facts. Holland American cruise passengers must be fully vaccinated – 2nd dose at least 2 weeks before sailing. Negative PCR tests also required. I’m not saying we should allow cruise passengers but don’t just spout off what tou have not confirmed.

        • Anon says:

          What about kids on Holland America???? Will they be fully vaccinated? No they won’t be

          • Anonymous says:

            From Holland America’s website, all passengers need to be fully vaccinated. So unvaccinated children will not be allowed to sail.

            “Regardless of age, all guests on voyages departing through March 31, 2022 must be fully vaccinated in order to sail. Guests should always ensure they understand all requirements to travel for their home country and the destinations they plan to visit. ”

        • Anonymous says:

          Crew? All of them?

    • Anonymous says:

      They haven’t thought that through yet, maybe next week.

  24. Anonymous says:

    They cant even manage the existing system – how on earth are they going to monitor and police 2 completely different quarantine policies applied to 2 different strains?

  25. Anonymous says:

    How fast is genomic testing on island, how soon after the LFT will HSA know if the traveller has Omicron?

    • Anonymous says:

      LFT tests are disposable kits and do not provide RNA type sequencing results, which are a lot more involved and come from a lab. Single strand RNA does not have doubke helix DNA genes.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ah so the trapezoidal helixicon is not the same as the wigglyoma disbunctionus cotexicon. Now I get it.

      • Anonymous says:

        So how quickly will HSA test for Omicron after Lft establishes you are positive??????.

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