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Media Release - Travel Advice and Emergency Powers

For release: 14:30 17th March 2020

Anyone travelling to the Bailiwick of Guernsey from anywhere in the world will have to self-isolate for 14 days - WITH EFFECT FROM 00:01 19/03/20

From 00:01 Thursday 19 March, anyone travelling into the Bailiwick of Guernsey will be required to self-isolate for 14 days regardless of any symptoms or port of origin.

This decision was reached by the Strategic Co-ordinating Group and the recommendation made to the Civil Contingencies Authority, following a review of the latest epidemiological evidence regarding COVID-19 and a wider assessment by a range of agencies and services.

This new measure includes all travel, by any means (including privately owned or chartered vessels) and includes travel between the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey, but not within the Bailiwick of Guernsey (between Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm).  An exemption list for 'critical roles' to travel for reasons that are critical to the running of the Island will accompany this measure and is currently being prepared.

Anyone in self-isolation having entered the Bailiwick who develops symptoms, however mild, of a cough, fever or shortness of breath must ring the coronavirus helpline on 01481 756938 and 01481 756969.

Deputy Gavin St Pier, President of the Policy & Resources Committee and Chair of the Civil Contingencies Authority said:

'As I said on Monday, we will not be afraid to take whatever steps we need to, to help protect the health and welfare of Islanders and our Island infrastructure.

These new measures today, along with the advice that all non-essential travel should cease, will help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.  Everyone has a personal responsibility to take these new measures seriously and self-isolate if required.  We will take further steps as and when needed.'

Deputy Heidi Soulsby, President of the Committee for Health & Social Care said:

'The decision to insist on self-isolation for anyone entering the Bailiwick for 14 days is a significant change and one which has the potential to impact a number of Islanders.

All evidence shows us that if we can contain the virus and prevent community seeding we can lessen the burden on our health and care services.

Self-isolation is difficult but the guidance must be adhered to.  As well as not going to work, school/childcare, anyone in self-isolation must stay at home and not think that it is alright to just pop out to the shops, have friends round, or go for a walk.

The Bailiwick community has been great so far in responding to this challenging situation.  Please look out for your friends, family or neighbours who are in self-isolation and may need some practical help to get them through the 14 days.'

Travel advice for the Bailiwick is now as follows:

  • No non-essential travel.  Those undertaking essential travel (i.e for medical care in the UK) will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.  Only 'critical' travellers will not be required to self-isolate.  Guidance on 'essential' and 'critical' travel is being issued today.
     
  • Businesses or individuals who are expecting visitors should advise those visitors not to come unless their role is included on the exempted list of critical roles.  Anyone who goes against this advice and travels into the Bailiwick will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.  This requirement will be enforceable under emergency powers (details below).
     
  • Any individual leaving the island for essential reasons must take into account the requirement which will be upon them to self-isolate on their return as well as the risk of falling ill outside the island and the treatment that may or may not be available at that time in the location in which they find themselves.
     
  • Students: In view of the rapidly changing environment across the world including the closure of many institutions, potentially for an extended period, we would encourage students and their parents to consider returning to the island sooner rather than later, even if this requires a period of self-isolation.  If any students is symptomatic before their return they should contact their student health service or Public Health Services in Guernsey.

CCA makes emergency regulations to enforce self-isolation requirements on those entering the Bailiwick of Guernsey

Today (17 March) the Civil Contingencies Authority has agreed to make imminently emergency regulations to further strengthen the newly announced travel restrictions.

The powers will allow the Medical Officer of Health (who currently acts also as the Director of Public Health), her deputy and others authorised by her to, where necessary, enforce the testing, isolation and/or detention of those who travel to the Bailiwick.  It will also allow the enforcement of testing, isolation and/or detention for anyone in the Bailiwick suspected of being infected.

The Medical Officer of Health intends to require all those travelling into the Bailiwick, who are not considered to have 'critical' roles to self-isolate for 14 days.

The powers also allow Bailiwick Law Enforcement officers to initially detain at the hospital (or another suitable location) someone that they suspect may have the coronavirus and present a risk of spreading it to others, until the Medical Officer of Health can advise further.

Not complying with the restrictions or requirements imposed under these powers will be an offence.

Deputy Gavin St Pier said:

'Many Islanders have readily followed the guidance provided by Public Health and self-isolated where appropriate, in line with the official advice. But there are exceptions and if we really want to slow the spread of coronavirus, we must introduce these powers.  We will be ready to use these powers to enforce self-isolation if required.  This will help ensure everyone entering the Bailiwick self-isolates, and that we identify anyone who may have the virus already.  I hope Islanders will welcome these measures as firm steps to protect their health and especially the health of the most vulnerable in our community.'

Ends

 

Notes to Media

Issued by: Emma Walton
Tel: 01481 725241
E-mail: emma.walton3@gov.gg