NEW TECHNOLOGY TO SCREEN VISITORS
The Cayman Islands Government(CIG) has outlined more details of the ‘ground-breaking technology’ it will use to screen and monitor visitors when the borders reopen in September.
As part of a “comprehensive reopening strategy”, the government says it has engaged US-based biotech company BioIntelliSense, to provide visitors with a wearable health-monitoring device.
The medical-grade sensors which will be used for continuous health screening is considered a critical tool against COVID-19 with the reopening of the borders on September 1st and the return of visitors.
It will “passively monitor incoming travellers for early symptoms associated with COVID-19”, according to CIG press release.
In addition to providing proof of a negative PCR test 72 hours before flying, international travellers can opt-in to wear the BioIntelliSense BioButton™ device that monitors their heart rate at rest, respiratory rate and skin temperature to enable earlier detection of symptoms associated with COVID-19.
Hon. Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism, Moses Kirkconnell stated:
“This advanced health screening solution enhances our reopening protocols, providing further confidence that we can once again welcome visitors to our shores while minimising the risk of introducing new cases to the local community.”
Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee has been trialling the technology, wearing a BioIntelliSense medical device for the past month.
“I have been able to experience first-hand how unobtrusive it is to wear, and the accuracy of the data it provides. The primary advantage is the BioButton’s ability to provide an alert to any changes in vital statistics that could indicate trending towards a respiratory infection, such as COVID-19, and provides Public Health the opportunity to intervene as soon as possible."
Dr Lee said the BioButtons can also be used to facilitate isolation at home and will allow us to introduce enhanced contact tracing.”
The health sensors communicate via Bluetooth with the BioMobile™ smartphone app as well as BioHubs, which can be placed at the wearer’s accommodations to monitor the user’s whereabouts during a period of self-isolation.
Proximity and duration to other BioButton devices can be reported to enhance contact tracing programmes.
Dr James Mault, CEO of BioIntelliSense said, “BioIntelliSense is excited to work with the Cayman Islands Government on creating a scalable technology-enabled response to monitoring for symptoms associated with COVID.”
He said, “the BioButton™ health screening and contact tracing solution will augment safety measures for early detection of COVID symptoms to enable proactive intervention and automated care pathways for residents, workforce and visitors.”
According to BioIntelliSense, since the outbreak of Covid-19, it has been approached by multiple countries, government agencies and airlines interested in applying the technology to heighten travel safety.
BioIntelliSense’s FDA-approved, clinical intelligence technology also supports at-home remote care for patients requiring continuous medical monitoring.
The company also says that Philips, a global leader in health technology, also recently announced that it was collaborating BioIntelliSense to incorporate biometric sensors into its remote patient monitoring programme.
GETTING READY FOR THE WORLD
In the first phase of reopening, visitors and returning residents must register with Travel Time for permission to travel on one of the government-arranged repatriation flights, or by private air.
Travellers over the age of 10 must provide proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours of travelling. Eligible travellers can either opt-in to wear a BioButton and self-isolate in their choice of residence for five days, or quarantine in a Government managed facility for 14 days.
Those wearing a BioButton will have a second PCR test five days after arrival and, if negative, will continue their bio-monitoring for a further nine days without the requirement to self-isolate.
Government’s Reopening Borders Committee (RBC) is finalising the details of phase one reopening protocols and will publish further information in the coming weeks. Details include how to secure PCR testing, arrangements for self-isolation, data privacy and management and programme fees.
The government says the processes and protocols will be further evaluated and fine-tuned during phase one, while arrival numbers are still limited, to inform decisions on when and how the Cayman Islands moves to phase two of reopening.
Tourism Minister Kirkconnell said, “As we gear up for the controlled, phased reopening, hotels and other tourism partners have been putting in place new measures to increase sanitation and support social distancing requirements, as good hygiene practices remain our first defence against the virus,”
“At the same time, we want to ensure the guest experience is at the same high standard that visitors have come to expect from the Cayman Islands. We are confident that we are worth the wait, he added.
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