(CMR) The governor's office has confirmed today that Cayman will remain on the UK's amber list for travel at this time. The decision came after the UK Transport Minister, Grant Shapps provided an update to the red, amber and green (RAG) rating lists for inbound travel to England.
In fact, the UK has removed Portugal from the green list and added seven to the red list. The red list is set to expand, with Afghanistan, Bahrain, Costa Rica, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Trinidad & Tobago all expected to join the red ranks, increasing the list to 50 countries.
The governor shared:
This rating determines what inbound travelers must do on arrival, linked to the Covid situation in the country from which they are traveling, vaccination rates and the availability of genomic sequencing.
Like many in our community, I am very disappointed that Cayman, along with all Overseas Territories in the region, will for now remain on the amber list. This means that on arrival into England, a period of 10 days isolation is mandatory with PCR tests on days two and eight. There remains the option to pay for the ‘test to release’ scheme after 5 days. A negative result ends self-isolation early.
With an increase in Covid cases in the UK due to the Delta variant (also known as Indian variant), the UK took the political decision that it did not want to add any countries or territories to the green list at this review point. Portugal was removed from the green list. Several countries were added to the red list.
Over the last three weeks, my office has provided lots of information to the UK Department of Transport on Cayman’s Covid policies, vaccine uptake and our recently acquired capacity to undertake genomic sequencing used to detect variants of concern. The Premier wrote to UK Ministers. I have personally raised this at senior levels in the UK.
We have set out a compelling case as to why Cayman should be green. I recognize it is hard to understand why we are not green. I very much hope that happens at the next review in 3 weeks and we will continue to urge that outcome. As we have now started (as of 3 June) to demonstrate our genomic sequencing capability, that strengthens our case even more.
This decision by the UK reflects great caution about international travel and the extremely difficult challenge the UK faces in managing the risks from Covid. It is no reflection whatsoever on Cayman’s outstanding Covid response.