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Events cancelled over coronavirus fears

Events cancelled over coronavirus fears

Saturday 14 March 2020

Events cancelled over coronavirus fears

Saturday 14 March 2020

A number of events due to take place over the next couple of weeks have been cancelled, with everyone now advised to reduce contact with others where possible.

It's part of advice issued by Guernsey's Public Health Services, with further updates on events and public gatherings expected early next week.

"Social distancing measures will contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect our community and enable us to continue to deliver our essential public services," said Director of Public Health, Dr Nicola Brink. "By limiting the amount of contact people have with each other, we can slow down the spread of the infection.

"Putting out advice of this nature is not taken lightly as we are aware of the significant impact this can have on people's lives."

Nicola Brink

Pictured: Director of Public Health, Dr Nicola Brink.

Extra precautions should be taken by those over 65 with underlying health conditions, who could be more vulnerable to complications with the virus.

"The scientific evidence we have so far indicates that COVID-19 hits the older population with underlying health conditions harder which means we have to ensure that they are aware of measures to protect their health and wellbeing," Dr Brink added.

"Public Health advice is not saying that our older community can't still go out for a walk or for exercise in an open outdoor space. However, we are suggesting that they avoid non-essential closer contact as much as possible such as not going out to group meetings, dances,  meals out and shopping."

One event to change its plans is Fashion for Freedom, which was scheduled to take place today. It has been postponed and more information is expected soon, via its Facebook page.

Meanwhile, a Guernsey Harbours planning exercise, which has been in the pipeline for months, has also been affected. Around 40 volunteers were going to act as casualties this Sunday, while ports staff practiced for a mass cruise ship evacuation. But, with fears over coronavirus and uncertainty over this year's cruise visits, the event has been cancelled.

Guernsey Mind has taken the decision to temporarily suspend its public groups to protect members, while the film-maker behind the Man Down documentary has decided to postpone his latest project.

Sporting events have also taken a blow, with the long-awaited Guernsey Marathon being postponed until October. Guernsey FC has taken the decision to postpone its next match as well, in line with advice on non-essential travel. 

"We are very conscious that many in our community who are organising or planning to attend events in the coming days are keen for guidance with respect to the ongoing coronavirus situation," a States of Guernsey spokesperson said. "This is an area Public Health Services and the wider States of Guernsey are actively looking at. It is important we provide this advice quickly, but it is also crucial we make sure we provide the right advice, and that it is appropriate for the situation our Bailiwick currently faces.

"We're looking at a range of considerations, of course with islanders' health and wellbeing as our first priority, and will look to provide advice regarding events on Monday.

"We would also ask islanders to continue taking note of the advice issued so far, including today's advice on social distancing and guidance specifically for over-65s."

At the moment, there has only been one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Guernsey, with some still awaiting test results.

More information and advice on the virus is available here.

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