New regs outline stiff penalties for faking pre-arrival COVID tests

Anyone arriving in the Cayman Islands from 14 Jan. will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test. - Photo: File

Under new regulations requiring all incoming travellers to prove they have tested negative for COVID-19 prior to arrival on island, anyone who provides fake or forged documentation to that effect could face two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

The regulations were gazetted on Saturday, 9 Jan., and will come into effect on Thursday, 14 Jan.

The stiff penalties apply to other contraventions of the regulations, and are similar to those for breaching quarantine, which also carry a two-year prison sentence and a $10,000.

Premier Alden McLaughlin, who announced the new testing requirement at a press briefing on 7 Jan., said anyone over the age of 10 entering Cayman will need to have undergone a PCR test no more than 72 hours prior to departure, and received a negative result.

In a press release about the new regulations, the premier said, “Given the new, highly transmissible strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus reported in 45 countries to date, the added testing requirement aims to reduce the potential for any surge of cases in the Cayman Islands.”

As of Friday, 8 Jan., Cayman had 46 active cases of COVID-19. All of those cases involve travellers who recently arrived on island and who are currently in quarantine. There has been no cases of community transmission of the virus since 9 Oct.

Under the new regulations, airline staff at check-in desks will be asking passengers to provide a medical certificate that proves they have tested negative before allowing them to board an aircraft. Travellers will also be required to provide the same documentation to Customs and Border Control staff when they arrive in Cayman.

According to the regulations, the medical certificate showing a negative result must be from an “approved laboratory” accredited by one of the following agencies:

  • United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited laboratories
  • UK National Health Service (NHS)
  • Joint Commission (JC) in the US
  • Joint Commission International (JCI) in the US
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in the US
  • Commission on Office Laboratory Accreditation (COLA) in the US
  • National Public Health or other government-approved providers.

Travellers, on arrival at the airport in Cayman, will also be required to complete a medical and travel questionnaire.

They will still have to quarantine for at least 14 days upon arrival, officials said, followed by a PCR test on day 15. They must remain in isolation until a negative result is returned.

The government on Friday began the national rollout of a vaccination programme. By the end of the day, 1,076 people – including healthcare workers, those over 70, and people with certain medical conditions had received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which arrived on island earlier in the week.

The voluntary vaccination programme will continue in three stages, eventually being made available to all residents over the age of 16 as supplies become available.

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  1. If the airlines follow the new rules there should be nobody arriving that has not tested negative within the time limit. If a traveller tested negative 72 hours before departure,tested negative on arrival in Cayman and has taken the Pfizer Covid vaccination and booster, will he still have to quarantine?.