Police: File on COVID-positive airline passenger to go to DPP

A passenger who had tested positive for COVID-19 prior to travelling arrived at Owen Roberts International Airport on board a Cayman Airways flight from Kingston, Jamaica, on 9 Sept.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service says it plans to send a file to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions ‘shortly’ on a Cayman Airways passenger who entered the island despite testing positive for COVID-19 prior to departing from Jamaica.

In response to requests from the Compass on an update on the case, Cayman Airways referred the newspaper to police, which said in a statement, “This report is under active investigation by the RCIPS Covid Enforcement team and a file will shortly be sent to the ODPP for legal ruling.”

In its response, police also said that, in addition to consideration of a breach of the Public Health regulations, the RCIPS is “reviewing the Penal Code to establish if any offences have been disclosed where the community, including passengers, crew, etc., were put in any danger by the passenger”.

Under current COVID-19 suppression regulations, anyone entering the Cayman Islands is required to undergo a PCR test within 72 hours of departure and provide a negative result.

On Thursday, 9 Sept., the passenger who had tested positive for COVID-19 was allowed to board a Cayman Airways flight at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston and fly to Grand Cayman. A Customs and Border Control officer discovered the breach when the passenger presented a positive COVID-19 test result upon arrival at Owen Roberts International Airport.

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Cayman Airways president and CEO Fabian Whorms, speaking at a government COVID update press briefing the following day, said he was “very surprised” that the passenger had managed to board the aircraft with a positive result.

He said the airline requires its handling agency to conduct two checks of negative COVID-19 test results before passengers are allowed to travel on CAL flights to Grand Cayman.

In a statement on the night the breach occurred, Whorms said, “With today’s apparent breach of that process, we are conducting an internal investigation and have already initiated measures to institute a third check at the gate prior to boarding. Our airline will be working with the Travel Cayman team and local Public Health authorities in order to also put additional measures in place to ensure that such a situation does not reoccur.”

The passenger and travelling companion were both placed in government quarantine, with GPS monitoring in place.

The breach came on the same day that two people in Cayman tested positive for COVID-19, in the first case of community transmission seen here since last year.

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