Cayman has seen hundreds of incoming travelers test positive for the coronavirus over the past few months, so new travel requirements for all incoming travelers to produce a negative Covid test before they travel should reduce those numbers considerably.
As from last week Thursday, all travelers arriving in the Cayman Islands must show evidence of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result, taken no more than 72 hours prior to flight departure.
Up until this point, incoming travelers only knew if they were positive for the coronavirus once they had arrived on island, taken their PCR test at the airport and then gone on to quarantine to await the results of their first test. Most Covid-positive travelers have not been suffering from any symptoms, so would not have known they were infected. But as new and more easily transferable variants of the virus have taken hold in places such as the UK, South Africa and most recently, Brazil, governments around the world are imposing stricter rules on who can enter their countries.
The introduction of the pre-arrival test as a pre-screening method is another layer of protection for the community, but, within the 72-hour period following the test, it is possible to be exposed to the Covid-19 virus, therefore additional measures such as PCR testing on arrival and completion of the 14-day quarantine period is still required.
The new safety measures have already been put to the test, with the first two flights operating under these new regulations arriving from the UK and Honduras.
Out of those passengers, 200 successfully obtained evidence of a negative PCR test result, taken within the required 72-hour period before flight. Cayman Islands representatives from the London Office were on hand at London Heathrow airport to provide assistance and support to travelers. One person was denied boarding the aircraft as their test result sample was collected outside of the required 72-hour period.
Dr Tasha Ebanks-Garcia, Director Travel Cayman, said that as these new rules had just been implemented, help was at hand from CIGOUK and Cayman Airways staff, providing on-the-spot advice.
Only accredited PCR tests will be accepted, not lateral flow, rapid antigen or antibody tests.
As well as the arrival PCR test and 14-day quarantine, a day 15 PCR test will still be needed and travelers must have a negative test result to be released from quarantine.
Quarantine protocols are applicable for all travelers arriving into Cayman, including those persons who have received a COVID-19 vaccine.