The Cayman Islands Government (CIG) is taking a more aggressive stance to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and its new strains entering the jurisdiction.
From January 14th all arriving passengers will be required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test obtained before travelling.
Hon. Premier Alden McLaughlin has announced that this test - a chain reaction PCR COVID-19 test - must have been done at least 72 hours prior to their departure.
It will also be a requirement in order to board their flight.
“All travellers aged 10 and older will need to provide a negative test result from an upper airway swap given the new highly transmissible strain of the SARS COVID-19 virus discovered in the UK and more recently in other countries,” the Premier stated.
The aim is to reduce the potential for in a surge of cases here.
There has been a constant stream of positive COVID-19 tests among persons arriving in Cayman mainly from the UK.
However, Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee has explained that the number of positive tests relative to the number of persons on each incoming flight has remained about the same on average.
The new arrival clearance regime being introduced by the government will require that the test be provided in the UK from an accredited laboratory or the National Health Service.
A similar pre-travel test approved by American health authorities will also be required for persons coming from the United States.
Airlines will check passages prior to departure to confirm that an appropriate negative PCR test has been provided and will deny departure to anyone without proof of a negative test, the Premier stated.
Also, travellers will have to show Cayman Islands Customs and Border Control(CBC) officers documentary proof of a negative test either in paper form or electronically.
Premier McLaughlin said further details of this new system are forthcoming prior to its introduction mid-January.
“The reason why they're not available in some issues are still being worked out but we felt that it is important that we give people as much notice as we possibly can of this significant change in the requirements,” he explained.
With the outbreak of the new COVID-19 variant, said to be 70% more transmissible though not more deadly than the current strain, many countries have begun tightening up their border control and entry procedures.
Passengers arriving in England from all international destinations, including the Cayman Islands, are now required to present a negative COVID-19 test result before travelling, as well as their Passenger Locator Form.
Permitted travellers will need to take their test up to 72 hours before departure, whether or not a country is on the UK’s Travel Corridor list.
The UK Border Force is carrying out spot checks on arrivals into England with the power to impose an on-the-spot fine of £500 (CI$555) on travellers whose COVID-test paperwork is not in order.