Guernsey’s Director of Public Health has advised islanders to avoid all non-essential travel to and from the Bailiwick.
The advice follows the decision by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare a COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Nicola Brink has also advised that anyone who has flu-like symptoms or a fever needs to self-isolate, regardless of whether they have recently returned from overseas.
‘I am cognisant of the impact that this decision will have on the Bailiwick in terms of both business and personal travel arrangements,’ she said.
‘These decisions recognise that for most people coronavirus will be a mild illness, but it can cause severe symptoms in older people or people with health conditions, and has the potential to increase the demands on our public services, especially our Health and Care services, particularly if large numbers of people became ill at once.’
While Jersey’s government did not initially advise against non-essential travel, it has since asked that islanders reconsider before travelling off-island.
Anyone with symptoms should self-isolate
As an extra layer of caution to protect the local community, Dr Brink is advising anyone who has flu-like symptoms (cough, sore throat, running or blocked nose, muscle pains, fatigue) or a fever needs to self-isolate for the duration of these symptoms and for 48 hours after they have gone. It is not necessary for these people to be tested for COVID-19, unless they have recently returned from Group A or Group B countries (see below).
Further travel advice
Dr Brink is also advising:
· Businesses be ready to change their working practices and implement, for example, home working.
· Businesses or individuals who are expecting visitors to the islands to ask them not to travel if they are unwell with a fever, cough or shortness of breath.
· Islanders over 80 years of age, or over 65 with underlying health conditions, are being asked to consider any travel plans and avoid cruise ships and long-distance flights.
Updated travel advice regarding Group A and B category countries
Group A: Self-isolation for all returning travellers from the following areas in the last 14 days, irrespective of whether they have symptoms or not:
· Mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau)
· South Korea
· Specific lockdown areas designated by the government of Italy.
· The whole of Italy – (returning since 10 March 2020)
· Costa Adeje Palace Hotel – Tenerife
Group B: Travellers from these specified countries who have symptoms, even if these are mild, should self-isolate and get tested:
· Hong Kong
· Tenerife (returning since 17 February 2020)
· Germany (returning since 2 March 2020)
· Mainland Spain (returning since 2 March 2020)
· USA (returning since 10 March 2020)
· Switzerland (returning since 10 March 2020)
· Netherlands (returning since 10 March 2020)
If you experience symptoms (fever, cough or shortness of breath, no matter how mild) and have returned from the above countries in the last 14 days, then contact the coronavirus helpline on 01481 756938 and 01481 756969, or, if you are feeling very unwell, phone 999 telling the operator of your symptoms and travel history.