The Cayman Islands government has announced that the reopening of the border, which was scheduled to occur on September 1, will be postponed until October 1 amid concerns regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
A ban on public gatherings of over 50 people remains in place. Restaurants and bars have been allowed to reopen with social distancing measures. Bus services have also resumed on a 50 percent capacity, and taxis are limited to carrying two passengers at a time.
Airports remain closed to inbound and outbound international passenger flights until further notice. Only those with prior official authorization may enter the Cayman Islands, and these entries will be subject to a 14-day quarantine. Inter-island flights continue to operate; however, flights between Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are restricted to residents and essential staff.
As of Sunday, August 9, there are 203 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one associated fatality in the Cayman Islands. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.