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Borders could re-open in September

Borders could re-open in September

Friday 10 July 2020

Borders could re-open in September


The States have revealed a "roadmap" for moving to phase six, which will see resources devoted to re-opening Guernsey's borders on 1 September.

The Bailiwick has had no new positive cases of Covid-19 since 30 April 2020, and has now been in Phase 5 of the Exit from Lockdown Framework for three weeks.

The Civil Contingency Authority has started working out how the Bailiwick can move safely to Phase 6 - the Bailiwick’s return to the global community.

At its meeting yesterday, the Civil Contingencies Authority agreed several measures that will be introduced immediately.

A set of criteria has been established for travel on compassionate grounds. Individuals are asked to contact Public Health at publichealth@gov.gg for a risk assessment of their request and advice.

nicola_brink_gavin_heidi.png

Pictured: The new measures form part of a roadmap to phase six of the exit strategy. 

A set of criteria has been established for health related travel for critical and time- bound treatment. Individuals are asked to contact the Medical Director through population@gov.gg for advice.

The concept of 'Business Tunnels' has also been launched, which will be limited to same day return travel only. This type of travel will not require people to self-isolate, provided it is carried out "in a controlled environment in accordance with a method statement", which will be published next week.

States CEO Paul Whitfield said this will be based on an application process only and will be up and running in the next fortnight. 

Explaining the new measures, Dr Nicola Brink, Guernsey's Director of Public Health, said the main aim is to open borders safely. 

"We are looking at opening in an incremental fashion that is as safe as possible. Nothing is going to be entirely risk free and we have to accept this."

Today is the final day of the trial seven-day isolation scheme, and Deputy Gavin St Pier said this will not be replicated as they want to "devote our resources to safely opening our border on 1 September".

"As I have said before, it is in all our interests to exit from lockdown as quickly and as safely as we can.  As we have said before, we cannot stay in fortress Guernsey or fortress Bailiwick until we have a vaccine. It is because of this that the CCA agreed yesterday to introduce a series of measures immediately, based on a full appraisal of any risks, for the benefit of the community.

"We know people will have mixed emotions about these decisions and I can reassure the community that these are considered, evidenced decisions and I would ask the community to continue to trust us. If we see positive cases occurring as these measures are introduced they should not panic.

Deputy Gavin St Pier

Pictured: Deputy St Pier said further air bridges with Covid-free islands or countries are still being looked at.

"Dr Brink and her team are now experienced with ‘test, track and trace’ and have the resources and skills to manage individual cases or clusters of a certain size without the need to push back to an earlier phase."

Dr Brink stressed the importance of people maintaining good hygiene and notifying public health if they have any Covid-related symptoms. 

"From a Public health perspective, we are anticipating moving to the further easing of travel restrictions later in the autumn, as long as we can be confident of the prevalence of infection in our neighbouring jurisdictions," she said. 

"However, it is really important that we diagnose cases of Covid-19. So I would ask that anyone who has any symptoms, however mild, to come forward to be tested. By doing do we will not only be able to provide the appropriate support and care to that person, but, if a person is diagnosed with Covid-19, we will then be able to prevent on-going infection in our community through our track and trace system."

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