The recently reduced five-day quarantine period for vaccinated travellers currently only applies to people who can provide vaccination certificates issued in the Cayman Islands or the UK, as those are the only ones that can be securely verified, according to officials.
Travellers who have been vaccinated in the US or other countries will not be able to avail of the five-day quarantine, and are still required to quarantine for 10 days. This will continue until such time as certificates from those countries can be securely verified by authorities in Cayman.
Unvaccinated travellers are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Cayman.
The outgoing interim director of Travel Cayman, Matthew Hylton said, currently, only vaccination certificates issued by Cayman’s Health Services Authority and the United Kingdom’s National Health Service can be securely verified when travellers arrive at the airport.
He acknowledged that the situation could quickly change, and that Cayman, like many other jurisdictions around the world, is examining methods of verifying the variety of vaccination certificates that exist around the world.
He said, “From a policy and operational perspective, what we’re able to securely verify at the moment is vaccinations administered by HSA, because those can be locally verified through the HSA database by HSA staff who screen for quarantine duration at the airport during the arrival process.
“As it relates to UK vaccines, the NHS app meets UK national standards and as such is accepted once a traveller is able to open the app and show their proof of vaccination.”
Travellers who have been vaccinated in the US or other countries are still required to quarantine for 10 days. This will continue until such time as those vaccine certificates can be securely verified by Customs and Border Control in the Cayman Islands during the arrival border control process.
“This is an ongoing conversation,” Hylton said. “The Travel Cayman Programme Board is exploring opportunities for securely verifying vaccination certificates from countries other than the Cayman Islands and the UK. Once it is determined that we can securely verify other vaccine certificates, the government will revisit the current provisions and adjust the policy accordingly.”
In a statement issued earlier this week as new regulations outlining the shorter quarantine period went into effect, Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee said, “The phased programme under the new Regulations shortens the quarantine time for those people who we can be securely assured have been fully vaccinated two weeks before arrival. Currently this is only people who provide secure evidence of vaccination from the HSA and the NHS.
“This is a small first step, and I hope it will become a lot easier as international demand for secure technologies increase.”
In that statement, Health Minister Sabrina Turner also reminded the public that while Cayman’s borders remain closed, travel is for repatriation and essential purposes only.
“Many people have been forgoing urgent travel, due to being unable to get enough time off work to fulfil the mandatory quarantine when they return. Additionally, some people have been unable to travel for elective medical procedures and this has undoubtedly had a negative mental health impact on many people,” she said.