COVID-19 Regulations Lessen, PACT Embraces ‘New Normal’
The Cayman Islands Government has announced the further relaxation of COVID-19 regulations effective Wednesday, 24 August 2022. The requirements for the management of COVID-19 falls under the remit of Public Health, who will continue to monitor positive cases and collect pertinent data about the virus’ transmission in the community.
Premier Hon. G. Wayne Panton, JP, MP welcomed the changes to the regulations, while reinforcing Government’s commitment to taking a science-based, people-first approach to COVID-19:
“Changes to the current COVID-19 regulations were decided after careful consideration of the local and international situations, along with the continued guidance of Public Health,” said Premier Panton. “Our population is minute compared to the rest of the world. Therefore, our strict regulations and the early timing of their implementation improved our ability to initially contain the spread of COVID-19 across our three small Islands. This allowed us the necessary time to vaccinate the majority of the population, which led to a vastly better outcome against the virus compared to other countries across the globe,” he added.
Travel restrictions have been fully removed, meaning travellers are no longer required to do the following:
- apply to Travel Cayman for travel authorisation or to make a travel declaration;
- provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 upon arrival in the Cayman Islands;
- quarantine or isolate upon arrival to the Cayman Islands, regardless of vaccination status.
While mask-wearing in public places remains discretionary, owners or operators of establishments such as healthcare facilities, residential home care facilities, prisons, or places of detention may require visitors to wear a face covering or mask prior to entry. There are also no Government-mandated limits on public gatherings in the Cayman Islands, whether indoors or outdoors.
Minister for Health and Wellness, Hon. Sabrina Turner, expressed her confidence in the Cayman Islands community to do their part to control the rate of infection:
“We did not arrive at this point because we grew tired of COVID-19, but instead through careful management by following the science and because we trust the people of the Cayman Islands to take responsibility for their health,” said Minister Turner.
“It is my vision that we will transition to a culture of health and wellness where it is second nature to practice hand hygiene, stay up-to-date with booster doses and seek preventative care”, she added.Premier Panton also reminded the public to remain vigilant towards COVID-19 in the community, despite the relaxation of regulations:
“Although the detection of positive cases continues to decline locally, and weekly deaths are decreasing globally, COVID has by no means gone away. While it is now time for the public to take personal responsibility for their own health and safety, we still need to be cautious,” he added.
Those who test positive for COVID-19 are still required to isolate by Public Health. However, the isolation period has changed to 7 days for both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons. Close contacts of people positive for COVID-19 are able to continue to work and attend school, given they complete daily lateral flow testing.
COVID-19 remains a notifiable disease under the Public Health Act and as such, Interim Chief Medical Officer, Dr Autilia Newton, reminded the public that it is still mandatory to report positive lateral flow tests for epidemiological purposes:
“Confirmatory PCR testing is still strongly recommended for those who receive a positive lateral flow test, first to ensure correct diagnosis and second to acquire samples for genomic sequencing”, she said.
The public are also reminded that it is still required by law to report a positive case of COVID-19.
Public Health will continue to cover the cost of a confirmatory PCR test for people who receive a positive lateral flow test result.
For the full list of changes, visit www.exploregov.ky/coronavirus.