Even stricter measures are being put in place, effectively putting the Bailiwick of Guernsey into 'lockdown' as we now know corona virus is being spread within the community among people who haven't travelled off-island.
As of 14:00 today there were 23 confirmed cases of covid-19 in Guernsey, including the first patient proven to have caught it through so-called 'community seeding'.
The Director of Public Health, Dr Nicola Brink, advised the Bailiwick's Civil Contingencies Authority to introduce even stricter measures to control the spread of the virus with that information at hand, along with her inside knowledge of the testing protocols being faced due to laboratory capacity in the UK.
Pictured: Dr Nicola Brink has been leading the islands' fight against, and then to contain, the spread of corona virus.
It is still hoped that testing for corona virus can be introduced locally within another fortnight, which might see the new measures being lifted.
The new measures we all face from midnight tonight are:
These three measures are aimed at further reducing our day-to-day contact with other people, which is proven to reduce the spread of the infection.
Dr Brink said the decision to introduce all of these measures was made late this afternoon, based on the latest information she's received today.
"The Public Health Team having identified a case of community seeding together with reviewing the broader local evidence of COVID-19 cases and international developments has decided that the most appropriate course of action is to introduce these strict measures for an initial period of 14 days. This will give us time to commission and start on-island testing which will give us a clear idea as to the extent of on-Island seeding.
"The single most important action we can now take as a community in fighting the coronavirus is to stay at home in order to protect our Island and our medical infrastructure and save lives."
Pictured: These are the statistics that Dr Nicola Brink used to base her latest decisions on, which led to the Civil Contingencies Authority deciding to put Guernsey in 'lockdown'.
Deputy Gavin St Pier is chairing the Civil Contingencies Authority which met this afternoon, just hours before making the announcement of the new measures this evening.
"These measures introduce the most far reaching deprivation of personal liberties since the Second World War," he said. "These are not decisions that we have taken lightly. The impact of these decisions are far reaching but I am absolutely certain that it is the right thing to do to protect our community.
"Stay in regular touch by ‘phone or video call with friends and family. We will continue to update gov.gg so that you have reliable source of facts. This decision does not change my other advice from yesterday: don’t panic; keep calm; stay strong; and maintain good personal hygiene amongst your household.
"Rest assured that the whole of government is mobilised to continue to do everything we can to protect you, your families, as well as ours. We will never compromise or risk that overriding objective."
Pictured: Guernsey's most senior politician made the announcement of the new measures, which effectively put all Bailiwick residents into 'lockdown' for two weeks, warning that "these measures must be followed by everyone".
The 'lockdown' covers all of the islands of the Bailiwick and will last for two weeks initially, from 00:01 Wednesday 25 March. After that fortnight is up, just before the Easter weekend, a decision will be made on whether the ban on leaving our homes for all but essential purposes can be lifted.
In the meantime, children of Critical Workers can continue to go to school, along with those children considered vulnerable. They will also be able to continue going to school over the Easter break, and information will be provided to those affected, along with transport if needed.
The children of separated parents can move between their parents' homes.
Pictured: It's hoped making the announcement in the evening, with the new measures coming into force at 00:01 Wednesday 25 March, it will prevent people 'panic buying'.
As the new measures were being agreed, arrangements were also being confirmed to ensure the supply of critical goods into the island isn't interrupted.
The CCA assured Express the supply chain of goods and services into the Bailiwick is secure and that retailers will have measures in place from first thing tomorrow morning to manage supplies and ensure people don’t buy more than they need.
Deputy St Pier said:
"This final and significant decision was made at 17.00 hrs and therefore, whilst planning has taken place, implementation of these plans is being pulled together this afternoon. We know islanders will have many questions following these announcements. We have attempted to anticipate questions that might be asked. These are now online at gov.gg/coronavirus. These will also be shared with the media for those who do not have access to the internet.
"The key take away message from this announcement is STAY INSIDE. I cannot stress this enough - if there really are any sceptics out there, even they, surely, have now grasped the importance of everyone doing what we have been saying – namely, you must follow public health advice."
Pictured: The President of the Committee for Health and Social Care, Deputy Heidi Soulsby.
The measures being introduced across the Bailiwick are similar to those in the UK, but much more strict than those currently in force in Jersey.
Since covid-19 was first detected in the island, Dr Brink and her team and the CCA have stressed the importance of doing what is right for Guernsey.
Deputy Heidi Soulsby, President of the Committee for Health & Social Care said the decisions taken today are based on local data and the local situation.
"Today a significant and life changing decision has been made to impose these new measures on our community. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their efforts. The situation has developed at pace and we need a community approach to protect each other during these difficult times.
"From tomorrow we will be collating information and resources to support people’s mental wellbeing during this challenging time. We will make this information available online and work with our media colleagues to ensure Islanders are aware of support that they can access."
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.
There are no comments for this article.