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Extra flights and ferries for 7-day testing plan

Extra flights and ferries for 7-day testing plan

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Extra flights and ferries for 7-day testing plan


Condor and Aurigny have announced additional passenger services inline with the plan to run a week long pilot scheme, testing a limited number of people for the corona virus seven days after they arrive in the Bailiwick.

Both transport providers have been in talks with the Civil Contingencies Authority ahead of the decision to run the trial scheme this July.

That pilot testing scheme was announced this lunchtime - it will see a maximum of 1376, arriving on a limited and specified number of Condor Ferries and Aurigny services between 5 and 10 July.

Those 1376 people will be required to self- isolate for 14-days, with a test for covid-19 on the seventh day. If a test returns negative, that individual would be released from their self-isolation on the eighth day, or as soon as a negative result becomes available. They will also have to adhere to other rules, including avoiding restaurants during the full 14-days after they arrive.

Anyone travelling through Guernsey to Alderney or Sark will not be eligible to take part in the pilot at this stage in line with the decisions of those jurisdictions.

Sark Alderney

Pictured: People travelling to Sark and Alderney will not be included in the trial scheme for seven days self-isolation.

Condor has arranged to run two sailings from the UK to St Peter Port next month - with the Condor Liberation running return trips between Poole and Guernsey on Sunday 5 and Wednesday 8 July.

The sailings will carry a reduced number of passengers - down from the maximum number of more than 850 to just 250 at a time - with social distancing procedures in place for check-in, boarding, seating and disembarkation.

Elwyn Dop, Condor’s Executive Director of Operations, said his staff have been in talks with the authorities in Guernsey to get everything ready for the pilot scheme.

"We are aware that there are a number of people who really need to get to the UK, regardless of the requirement to quarantine on return, now that non-essential travel is allowed.

"It is for this reason that we have been in dialogue with Public Health and the States to put on these very specific sailings and allow those passengers to travel."

Mr Dop hopes the trial scheme could lead to the Bailiwick entering phase six of its lockdown exit strategy.

"These limited sailing dates will initially allow us to test our safety procedures and assess the impact on all aspects of our vessel operation. And crucially, they will allow the States to pilot seven-day testing for returning passengers on specified sailings. We are very grateful to the States of Guernsey for guiding us through this so thoroughly and happy to support their efforts to trial and assess safe, sustainable options for moving towards phase six.

"Any permanent restart realistically needs a further easing of quarantine and travel restrictions and we have no timings on these at this stage but we hope this pilot is successful and will take us that step closer."

airport_harbour.jpg

Pictured: Arrivals at Guernsey Airport and Harbour will be strictly controlled during the trial scheme.

Aurigny has also been working with the States on the pilot scheme to reduce the self-isolation period, with plans to put on additional services between Guernsey and Southampton for the trial.

Mark Darby, Chief Executive of Aurigny said the timetable will still offer far fewer flights than usual, but he also hopes it could lead to phase six being introduced sooner than otherwise planned. 

“Even though the ban on only essential travel has been lifted, the 14-day self-isolation period is a real barrier to travel. We are really encouraged by this move to trial a different approach and potentially reduce the self-isolation period in the longer term.

"It will be a good opportunity to see what underlying demand there is for travel both to and off the island and is a positive step towards phase six. We are keen to get back to a regular service as and when the time is right, and the evidence supports such a move.”

Aurigny's additional services will see an extra return flight departing from Guernsey to Southampton at 16:15 and returning from Southampton at 17:30 on Monday 6, Tuesday 7, Thursday 9 and Friday 10 July.

The flights and sailings offered for the pilot scheme have been co-ordinated with the States of Guernsey, Condor and Aurigny, to ensure the daily cap on arrivals is adhered to.

Pictured: Aurigny and Condor Ferries are working with the States to trial a scheme offering incoming passengers the chance to self-isolate for seven days rather than 14. 

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