Guernsey's Director of Public Health believes that life may never return completely to how it was before the covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Nicola Brink was speaking at the States' latest covid public briefing as the number of active known cases in the Bailiwick continued to set new daily records.
No new measures were announced, but existing public health messages were reinforced: wear masks in crowds or where social distancing is not possible or indoors where ventilation is poor, take regular lateral flow tests and maintain good personal hygiene.
Guernsey has 482 active known cases. This is the highest number at any one time since the pandemic began, though the ongoing success of the island's vaccination programme greatly reduces the risks of serious illness, hospitalisation and death.
Face coverings are once again common in public places and there is no clear end in sight for a global pandemic which has already registered more than 250 million cases and more than five million deaths worldwide since it was first discovered in China towards the end of 2019.
Pictured: Public health officials and the States' Civil Contingencies Authority, which is overseeing the island's response to the pandemic, continue to encourage high rates of vaccination, including boosters, which are part of a raft of measures to help contain the spread of covid-19 as much as possible.
Deputy Heidi Soulsby, speaking at the latest public briefing, said it was clear that the pandemic and the restrictions and advice associated with it would not come to an end in the near future.
“Nothing is going to change before Christmas," said Deputy Soulsby. "We need to see over the hump of this celebratory period and when more respiratory diseases are likely to occur.
“It’s all about seeing what’s going to happen in the hospital over that period of time.”
Deputy Soulsby was chairing the briefing in place of Deputy Peter Ferbrache, Chairman of the Civil Contingencies Authority, who has now tested positive for covid himself.
Dr Brink suggested that living with covid is likely to make life very different to life before the pandemic.
“In the post-covid world, do I think things will go back to completely where we were before, no,” said Dr Brink.
Pictured: Dr Nicola Brink said that covid-19 has increased the world's awareness and understanding of pandemics.
“I think we are going to have a heightened awareness of how pandemics emerge and how we can prevent ourselves getting into such a situation again. I think there will be a focus globally on pandemic prevention.
“I think we’ll work towards Christmas and past Christmas and see what evolves over the winter period. We’ll see about any variants of concern. It is our intention to move back from any restrictions as quickly as we safely can.”
Panellists at the briefing said that social distancing, washing hands regularly and making full use of masks would help avoid other infections as well as covid-19 and may become more normal in the future anyway.
“At the moment masks are strongly recommended, not just for covid but for the flu as well,” said Deputy Soulsby.
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