By Lindsey Turnbull
The Cayman Islands moves into a new phase of opening as from 1st October when its borders reopen to a small number of flights from the UK on British Airways and also regular flights from the United States on Cayman Airways. Ensuring that Cayman opens up safely while protecting its population is an absolutely crucial step for the Government to get right, if the country is to be able to open up further next year.
In order to allow a safe and secure transition into an open border, the Government has partnered with a company called TraceSafe to allow the Government to test quarantine management solutions with visiting guests. The technology, already being tested on a small number of people who arrived on the British Airways flight on 17th September, employs an App and wristband which monitors the whereabouts of the wearer while not infringing on their privacy, as their self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Dennis Kwan, CEO of TraceSafe Technologies Inc, said that the TraceSafe iMSafe technology offered a functional solution for managing incoming passenger quarantine, as well as quarantine planning in efforts to help the Cayman Islands reopen its borders safely.
“The iMSafe wristbands will play a vital role in helping airlines, passengers and authorities and TraceSafe will further continue to provide airlines with solutions to help safely reopen borders,” he stated.
The technology consists of real-time location management services and contact tracing solutions enabled through Bluetooth beacons and enterprise cloud management, which offers both user privacy and comprehensive administrative control. TraceSafe’s contact tracing bracelet has already been deployed in quarantine applications around the world in partnership with governments.
TraceSafe has shipped multiple self-quarantine management wristbands to the Cayman Islands for immediate use and additional wristbands are to be issued over the course of October. Those people who arrived on the British Airways flight in September who have been testing the equipment have been joined by participants who are not travelers, including civil servants and those working with the testing team.
How the technology works
Gordon Zeilstra, Chief Revenue Officer of TraceSafe, gave some background to the development of the technology:
“Tracesafe is a solution that grew out of the MedTech space, meaning that it was really developed to address specific issues within a medical environment that complemented patient safety, and in our case traceable technology,” he advised.
Their first deployment, in New Zealand hospitals assisting with ensuring that newborns were properly associated to their rightful parents, became a solution for when the world needed to address the Covid-19 pandemic and quarantine management in early 2020, he said, adding that they have had successful launches in places such as Hong Kong, Kuwait and Singapore and have now successfully combined wearables, including wristbands, with a software solution to work for people of all ages, and the safety regulations inherent in many different regions of the world.
The Cayman Islands has worked exceptionally hard collectively to ensure that it has remained Covid-free, so any technology that permits visitors to its shores has to be safe. Ensuring it properly monitors individuals is of paramount importance. Mr Zeilstra explained how it worked:
“The monitoring is done by designated people with government clearance and discretion, through the assistance of dashboards and reports. The data of the traveler is real-time information that complies with General Data Protection Regulations, and is used specifically and solely for the purpose of the quarantine period,” he stated. “The parameters [for those in quarantine] are set by the government and they have the ability to set the required thresholds for distance permission, and this can also be done to vary (if desired), against the size and indoor/outdoor nature of the quarantine location.”
Any possible security breaches are brought to the attention of those monitoring the individuals at almost a real-time consideration, in milliseconds, and monitoring is available through the dashboard access, he said.
So far, so good
TraceSafe technology and official protocol will be re-evaluated based on success in the Cayman Islands, following with the issuance of further orders and the assurance the Cayman Islands government is satisfied that the risk of importing the virus is mitigated.
But with the first cohort of guinea pigs almost coming to the end of their two-week quarantine at home, Mr Zeilstra was able to comment on how things had progressed so far.
“The solution has not only been closely monitored for its success, but it has moved forward very successfully through testing and the use case, with an exceptional level of cooperation from all who have been involved, both in deploying the technology via the government, and from the passengers who have been the first to participate in the programme,” he confirmed.
It is still a learning process, however.
“As with every new technology which gets rolled out, and need for protective equipment, and certainly in times where quarantine is necessary, we always are able to gain learnings on how to better educate and inform people, which leads to a greater understanding of cooperation and success. Additionally, having to work remotely and at a distance, has had its challenges, but ones that have been faced by everyone and allowed us to find new ways of solving problems,” he confirmed.
Mr Zeilstra called the government “an extraordinary partner” in both providing great communication, clarity and expediency in bringing together all the necessary people and efforts to bring about a world-class solution.
“We are confident that this will keep Cayman Islanders whether they are currently home, or coming home safe, and at the same time provide a safe opening solution for the country for which to welcome and showcase the wonder of beauty and people that exist in the Cayman Islands,” he added.