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Alderney wants to relax lockdown

Alderney wants to relax lockdown

Tuesday 07 April 2020

Alderney wants to relax lockdown


The States of Alderney is to directly petition Guernsey's Health and Social Care Committee for the power to relax some of the restrictions put in place to curb the spread of corona virus across the Bailiwick.

James Dent, Chairman of the island's Policy and Finance Committee, has written to Deputy Heidi Soulsby, President of HSC, asking that Alderney's erstwhile virus free status and difference to Guernsey's demographics and geography, be taken into account and that Alderney is allowed some local discretion to vary restrictions.

He is asking that some business be permitted to operate – for example lone gardeners and a wider variety of deliveries, including meals – and that leisure activities such as fishing be permitted.

In the past month the Civil Contingencies Authority has passed 45 directions to control the movement of people and restrict the spread of the virus, resulting in the Bailiwick-wide 'lockdown'.

But while cases have escalated in Guernsey over the past four weeks, with community seeding taking place, none of the tests on Alderney residents have come back positive.

Therefore, even if the virus does enter Alderney, there is likely to be a lag in peak cases which would 'flatten the curve' in terms of demand on health services.

Screenshot_2020-04-06_at_16.56.54.png

Pictured: The latest statistics as at 16:30, Monday 6 April. All of the positive cases are in Guernsey residents. 

The President of the States of Alderney said the government would be seeking the ability to vary restrictions on the likes of lone workers who can work without contact with other people, retail businesses, where they could safely provide a delivery only service, and delivered meals from restaurants. Recreational activities could be widened to allow people to go fishing and drive to spots to exercise.

Any proposed variation would be made on advice from Alderney's Operational Group, which meets daily. It would also be subject to approval from the Chief Medical Officer for Health, Dr Nicola Brink.

They could also be easily reversed if necessary.

Alderney's Policy and Finance Committee will convene to vote on the measures if the proposal does find favour in Guernsey.

dr Nicola brink

Pictured: Dr Brink, speaking at a recent press briefing. 

Alderney States Members have been canvassed over the request and the majority are in favour of the move. However, some believe that if the restrictions are relaxed in Alderney, the move should come in tandem with a tightening of the rules governing off island travel.

Alderney's only air link at present is to Guernsey, with two return flights per day in operation.

Last week Steve Roberts, who has responsibility for health on the States of Alderney, called for mandatory 14 day isolation for anyone travelling back to Alderney from Guernsey.

However Dr Sally Simmons, Clinical Director at the Island Medical Centre, said doctors and patients needed the freedom travel to and from Alderney for vital treatment without isolation measures being imposed if they were symptom free. She added that the very small number of patients still travelling to appointments were generally very well aware of their own vulnerability and were in general staying at home anyway.

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