The States have released the results of the seven-day testing programme, which has been put on hold until September, despite it being hoped the programme would shorten the isolation period for those travelling to the Bailiwick.
615 passengers came to Guernsey during the trial, all of whom tested negative for the coronavirus after a shorter seven-day isolation. The trial will not be extended into August, but could be used again in the future if unrestricted travel is deemed to be unsafe.
“Testing on day 7 of self-isolation is a possible alternative to introducing unrestricted travel if the circumstances in the UK do not make this a viable, safe option,” said the Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink.
Preparations are being made to reopen Guernsey’s borders, but safely, and not before 1 September. According to Chair of the Civil Contingencies Authority Gavin St Pier, there are several factors in play which will determine the island’s plan of action.
“Our hope is that soon, but not before the beginning of September, we will be able to reintroduce travel to the UK, and bring back the ‘A and B’ country approach that was in place before we locked down,” said Deputy St Pier, “possibly with post arrival testing and/or shorter periods of isolation,”
“This is reliant on a number of things that are not themselves certain such as the prevalence of COVID-19 continuing to fall in the UK.”
The logistics of extending the seven-day programme, or introducing a similar programme, on a large and long-term scale also presents logistical issues.
“We will need to further increase our on-island testing capability to cope with the much larger numbers of arrivals we would expect,” said Deputy St Pier.
“Unrestricted travel will still involve mitigations such as one, possibly two tests, for arrivals as part of the ‘test and trace’ which has been a major success in our response so far.”
Other options are being explored to allow a safe degree of movement where it is necessary. Click HERE to read about the proposed ‘business tunnels’ for essential meetings.
Pictured top: The States of Guernsey will not be expanding its seven-day testing trial for travellers, but the programme may see use in September if unrestricted travel proves to be unsafe.
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