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Covid-19 'hasn't gone away'

Covid-19 'hasn't gone away'

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Covid-19 'hasn't gone away'


We're warned that social distancing and strict hand hygiene must be maintained - while anyone with even minor symptoms must come forward for testing - if Guernsey is to remain free of covid-19.

After 252 people were confirmed to have the virus during March and April - the island now has no active cases.

13 patients sadly died after testing positive for the corona virus, while the others have all now tested negative meaning they have recovered in a medical sense although some may still be experiencing ill health associated with having had the virus. 

Three other deaths are also being linked with covid-19.

No one has tested positive in other of the other islands of the Bailiwick to date. 

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Pictured: The statistics released by the States on Wednesday 27 May.

The Director of Public Health has been careful not to say the virus has been eliminated locally - instead saying the Bailiwick needs to keep working together. 

Speaking recently, Dr Nicola Brink said the definition of elimination in a local sense was one which needed to be determined - and it could only happen after a period of perhaps 28 days with no new confirmed cases after the previous patient showing as an active case had been declared 'covid-free'.

"I think we need to differentiate between elimination and eradication," said Director of Public Health, Dr Nicola Brink (press briefing 15/5/20).

"Eradication is when you permanently reduce to zero a particular infectious agent globally, for example smallpox. It no longer exists across the whole world.

"Elimination is a more narrow definition. Elimination is when you reduce to zero an infection in a particular geographical region. We’re considering the Bailiwick as our geographical region. An example of a virus that we’ve eliminated locally but they haven’t eliminated in the UK is measles."

Deputy Heidi Soulsby, President of the Committee for Health & Social Care said today is a milestone date for the Bailiwick though and she said it "reflects the fantastic #GuernseyTogether approach to COVID-19".

However, she warned that testing is continuing so new cases of corona virus could still be confirmed in the islands.

"As we enter the next phase of expanding our testing programme, I would urge Islanders to continue to listen to the public health advice and to come forward for testing if they show any symptoms, however mild, or are invited to be tested as part of the extended programme.

"Our strategy remains the same ‘test, trace and quarantine’. It continues to be effective as evidenced in the lack of new positives and no active known cases. As we transition through the phases to exit from lockdown, this proactive testing in our community is key to managing the virus and protecting islanders."

Deputy Soulsby's view was echoed by Deputy Gavin St Pier, Chair of the Civil Contingencies Authority. He said we can't assume the threat of covid-19 has gone away just because we currently have no active cases.

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Pictured: One way the States are trying to remind us to keep our distance.

"As we move to Phase 4 at the weekend it is essential that everyone understands the need to maintain social distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.

"We are moving to a ‘new normal’ where we all need to have increased awareness of our personal space and hygiene. Whilst the concept of bubbles and extended bubbles changes in Phase 4, people MUST maintain social distancing.

"The easing of restrictions in Phase 4 doesn’t come without risk. People will need to take personal responsibility for managing that risk. Government will provide further guidance and information but the community need to be aware of, and consider the general principles of social distancing and public health measures in Phase 4."

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