Wednesday 28 October, 2020

The Quarantine at Residence Pilot Programme begins on Thursday

Two weeks after the Cayman Islands Government began field testing its multi-layered strategy to protect the islands from COVID-19, all reports indicate that the testing phase is proceeding as anticipated and no breaches have been reported.

Evaluations will continue on the technology, processes and procedures in readiness for October 1, when an increased number of flights are expected and more returning travelers, including home owners, will be quarantining at approved locations.

29 travellers who arrived in the Islands on 17 September are helping to test the monitoring technology while quarantining at home for 14 days. All of the participants will be tested again on day 15 and will require a negative PCR test result signed off by the Medical Officer of Health for their quarantine period to cease. 

Meanwhile, various working groups within the public sector are continuing to work collaboratively to further test, refine and enhance the government’s border opening processes. 

With the safety of the Cayman Islands community remaining a top priority, government has combined several distinct layers of protection to safeguard residents and minimise the risks from COVID-19. These include an element of personal responsibility, supported by repeated PCR testing, monitoring through geofencing technology, random checks and strong penalties for non-compliance.

Hon Moses Kirkconnell, Minister for Tourism explained that “As a result of stringent policy decisions, Cayman has experienced minimal cases of Covid-19 through community spread in comparison to many other regions of the world. Although we are in a relatively safe bubble, the economic impact of remaining closed to the rest of the world is increasingly translating into business closures and job losses, leaving Caymanian families facing significant hardship. Government is doing as much as we can to provide relief programmes and financial support to those most affected, but this will not be sustainable over the long term. 

In the meantime, we are continuing to monitor and learn from the experiences of jurisdictions that have already opened and we are putting robust health and safety mechanisms in place so that when it becomes safe to do so, tourists can gradually be welcomed back to our shores, enabling people to return to work.”   

Travel Process from October - What You Should Know

Travel Time Approval 

Until further notice, all persons wishing to travel to the Cayman Islands must register their inbound travel request with Travel Time, and complete the online form at www.exploregov.ky/traveltime in order to receive pre-travel approval. Travellers who have not completed this process will not be permitted to board a repatriation flight. Questions or concerns pertaining to inbound travel should be directed to Travel Time by emailing traveltime@gov.ky or by calling 649-6913 between the hours of 8:30am and 5:00pm, Monday to Friday.

PCR Test on Arrival

From October 1 onwards all inbound travellers (aged 5 years and over) will be tested at the airport for COVID-19, prior to undergoing mandatory quarantine for 14 days with a further PCR test on day 15. A negative PCR test result signed off by the Medical Officer of Health is required in order for the quarantine period to cease. 

Quarantine at Residence Pilot Programme

Effective October 1, government will launch its Quarantine at Residence pilot programme which will allow travellers to quarantine at home provided they meet established criteria, agree to wear monitoring technology and their homes have been pre-approved by Public Health. If the traveller resides with other people, all members of the household will be subject to the same quarantine requirements.

Travellers will be required to state whether they wish to quarantine at home (or quarantine in a government or privately run facility) on their Travel Time application. Permission to quarantine at home is not guaranteed and is subject to approval by the Medical Officer of Health.  Travellers who are approved to quarantine at home will be notified by Travel Time when they receive their travel approval.  

Persons who are not approved to quarantine at their residence will be required to quarantine either at a government or privately run facility.  In both cases, the quarantine period is 14 days followed by a PCR test on day 15. A negative result signed off by the Medical Officer of Health is required for the quarantine period to cease.

Monitoring Device with Geofencing Technology

Each individual approved to quarantine at their residence (aged 5 years and over) will be provided with an iMSafe wristband. The device communicates via bluetooth to a custom mobile app on a smart phone and creates a virtual perimeter around the quarantine location. If the wearer goes beyond the perimeter of their quarantine location, an alert will be sent to the monitoring team. Alerts will also be sent if the wristband stops communicating with the phone, or the phone with the servers, or if it is tampered with or damaged.

While a household is in quarantine, food, medication and essential supplies should be ordered from suppliers who accept contactless payment and offer delivery service. Delivery personnel, relatives and friends are not allowed to enter the home or have physical contact with the occupants while they are in quarantine.   

Any member of the household who does not comply with the quarantine at residence conditions issued by the Medical Officer of Health, could be in breach of the Prevention, Control and Suppression of Covid-19 (Partial Lifting of Restrictions) (No.4) (Amendment) Regulations.

If the breach amounts to a criminal offence they may be warned for prosecution and could be required to complete the remainder of their isolation period in a Government run isolation facility. The revised Regulations note that persons found to have committed an offence will face a fine of $1,000 and imprisonment for six months.

Cost of Quarantine at Residence Programme

During the month of October, persons who are approved to quarantine at their residence will not be charged a fee for the monitoring wristband or for the PCR tests which they undergo.      

Health Insurance

Travellers are strongly encouraged to have insurance which includes COVID-19 coverage before travelling to the Cayman Islands. From October 1, 2020 all inbound travelers will be required to attest to a statement which confirms that they possess health insurance which includes COVID-19 coverage, or that they understand the financial risks they are taking and that they have independent means to cover their medical costs. 

Categories of Visitor Expanded

For the month of October and until further notice, the groups of persons eligible to visit Cayman will be extended beyond the current categories of approved travellers (i.e. Caymanians, permanent residents, work permit holders and their families), to also include:

  • Persons who own residential property within the Cayman Islands,
  • Other approved visitors such as students with a valid visa to study in the Cayman Islands, and persons with close family ties to residents or work permit holders; such as spouses, fiancés, parents, grandparents and siblings. 

Repatriation Flights to the Cayman Islands

Until borders are fully opened, only private charters and repatriation flights operated by Cayman Airways and British Airways are allowed to enter Cayman. Although approval to leave the Island is not required, Government continues to caution residents that travel should be limited to essential or medical needs only.

Cayman Airways is currently providing repatriation service to Miami, USA; Kingston, Jamaica and Le Ceiba, Honduras, while British Airways continues to operate a fortnightly service between Grand Cayman and London, Heathrow. 

For the latest news and information regarding travel to and from the Cayman Islands please visit  https://www.exploregov.ky/travel

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